September 27, 2017 By Zak Mehan
Last week was a particularly eventful one in the ongoing dilemma about what to do about digital advertising in politics. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO gave an impassioned performance on Facebook Live, forcefully stating Facebook’s commitment to strengthening democracy. The company announced that it would enhance the transparency of political advertising on the platform, disclosing the page that paid for each ad and allowing users to visit an advertiser’s page to see what else they have posted.
Some cynics saw Facebook’s proactive approach (in contrast to total silence from Twitter) as an attempt to head regulators off at the pass; self-regulate, make a forceful statement about your moral position and maybe squeak by this time. Not so much.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is apparently mulling over some new ideas (and taking comments from any who will offer) including creating a database of all political ads and banning automated political ads from being sold. These would effectively halt the trend towards automated political advertising in its tracks. While any regulation is far from set in stone, it’s worth keeping track of, and if possible contributing to, the FEC’s ongoing decision-making process.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the interwebs, the proliferation of partisan “news” sites continues.
As tends to happen when 143 million people’s personal information gets pilfered, the crisis surrounding the massive Equifax hack continues, culminating this week in the resignation of the company CEO.
Our U.K. colleagues covered an important flub that took place last week, when the company directed customers to a website with a similar address to its crisis site, but was actually a phishing website (thankfully set up by a researcher to catch this exact issue).
Again, this is another instance where communication and preparation are invaluably important in a crisis. As our own web specialists note, trying to lock down every address similar to your crisis microsite is nearly impossible. This makes getting that address right in your communications and making sure those communications go out far and wide and frequently critical.
Make sure the address is prominent on your website. Make sure all employees know what it is. Pre-draft communications for customer service employees to make sure they get it right. Feature it prominently in any outgoing communications. Slap it in big letters across your social media banners. Do whatever it takes.
Consider further proactive options, too, like flagging the sites to look out for. Teams should be trawling the internet, working to stay ahead of hackers and protect customers. Few companies will face a crisis of this scale but all should abide by these tenets to keep themselves and their customers safe.
“Cease and desist letter” and “total delight” are not two phrases you’d expect to find together in a sentence. But it seems that Netflix’s legal team has somehow managed to bridge the gap between cold legal writing and viral internet sensation.
When a theme bar centered on the streaming-company-turned-entertainment-giant’s show Stranger Things opened in Chicago, Netflix’s legal team responded with what might be one of the “coolest” intellectual property infringement notices of all time. Replete with allusions to the show (choice lines include “My walkie talkie is busted,” and “I don’t want you to think I’m a total wastoid”), the letter has been lauded as a shining example of good PR.
Sure, this isn’t the first time a brand has had some fun with a cease and desist letter, but Netflix’s approach to an issue that could have resulted in a less than flattering storyline (think “entertainment giant shuts down local bar opened by fans”) is a great lesson for brands navigating a media landscape in which any piece of communication, no matter how small, is subject to scrutiny on social media and beyond. As companies become increasingly focused on ensuring that all communications stand up in the court of public opinion, expect to see a lot more tweetable legal documents.
Twitter to Test Doubling Tweet Length to 280 Characters NY Times
CNN Digital Is Facing A $20 Million Budget Shortfall BuzzFeed
Former BBC Worldwide exec is taking the reins at mitú, a digital media company focused on the Hispanic audience TechCrunch
Instagram now lets you limit who can comment on your pics The Verge
Vice Media’s Video Employees Unionize WSJ
And that’s enough internet for me today.