Following Mark Zuckerberg’s questioning in Congress, Facebook has come under immense pressure with many users questioning the faith that they place in the social media network.

A few months ago, Facebook could do no wrong and was talking about the aggressive expansion plans that it had in place to grow its user base. Now, the company is employing a rear-guard action just to retain the user base that it already has. In the eyes of the public, Facebook is not the diadem of modern communication that it once used to be.

Extended fallout

The phrase: I am thinking of deleting my Facebook account has been on everybody’s lips. However, are these people going through with their threats? What is the actual fallout of the Facebook scandal? I recently read an article on The Harvard Gazettes website which showed that the public is rightly very dismayed with the social network.

The article points out that a new poll suggests that the romance between college-age Americans and social media may be cooling, or at least isn’t passionate.

The article adds that according to a national poll of 18 to 29-year-old students conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics (IOP), their trust in an array of public institutions, along with some of the world’s best-known technology companies (Twitter, Uber, and Facebook) is low.

Tech winners

The article said that before news broke that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica misused the data of millions of Facebook users in the 2016 election, the Harvard Public Opinion Project dug into young Americans’ views of major technology companies.

The poll found that Facebook, Twitter, and Uber are trusted much less than Amazon and Google. Only 26% of those surveyed said they trusted Facebook all or most of the time, while 27% and 28% said they trusted Twitter and Uber, respectively. Nearly a quarter of 18 to 29-year-olds (22% to 24%) said they never trust these companies.

The article added that young people’s mistrust of tech giants appeared targeted, with Amazon and Google still being held in relatively high esteem. Overall, 45 percent indicated they trusted Amazon, and 44 percent reported they trusted Google all or most of the time. Just 14 percent said they never trusted Amazon, and 15 percent said the same about Google.

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Times of crisis

Clearly, the worlds biggest social network is treading deep water without a life raft or paddles in sight. There isn’t even any driftwood on the horizon.

So, how are they going to dig themselves out of the hole that they currently find themselves in? I recently read an article on fastcompany.com which showed that Zuckerberg is calling in the reinforcements. The following information is taken from and amended from the fastcompany.com article:

  • Mike Shroepfer, sometimes referred to as Shrep, has been at Facebook since 2008. He was first brought on to lead its engineering strategy and has risen through the ranks to chief technology officer. Today, his role keeps the back end afloat;
  • Chris Cox is Facebook’s chief product officer, a 13-year Facebook veteran and one of the most senior people at the company. He oversees all new products and features, as well as the design and marketing teams. Thus, he’s the guy quietly trying to weather this storm and will be involved in any changes to the Facebook user experience in response to the current kerfuffle;
  • Elliot Schrage is Facebook’s VP of global communications and public policy. Like many other brain trusters, he’s been at the company for nearly a decade; his role as the company’s public relations chief is slapping a palatable veneer onto the historically secretive company;
  • Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of marketing, is one of the main architects of the company’s lucrative and often-criticized advertising program. This system Everson helped build out is what firms like Cambridge Analytica capitalized on. And now Everson is one of the few public faces trying to fix the damage;
  • PayPal veteran David Marcus leads Facebook’s messaging products, one of the most important and data-sensitive arms of the social network. He oversees the Messenger app, which, after being spun off from the main Facebook app, has grown rapidly but has taken its time in terms of monetization strategy. Over the last year, he’s defended the company’s reputation and will probably do so again;
  • Lori Goler may hold one of Facebook’s more difficult jobs–at least lately. She runs the company’s human resources. And given the onslaught of negative press, morale at the company has been at an all-time low.

Trust needs to be earned

Obviously, there is a big trust deficit in the industry following the whole Facebook saga. How do companies (who largely base their business online) rebuild this trust with clients? I recently read an article on investmentnews.com which made some good suggestions.

The article points out that from drone delivery to political elections, tech is changing the world at a pace most of us can’t comprehend.

Take blockchain, for example. The article adds that the nature of our newly found sharing economy is influencing the way people trust. It’s become an invisible force shaping our behavior, and it has created a battleground. On one hand, we enjoy the convenience and new capabilities technology brings to our lives. On the other hand, we sense the potential risk in sacrificing our personal data, our privacy and our control.

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Time for complete transparency

The article adds that certain professions still struggles with a tainted reputation. A 2016 poll by the American Association of Individual Investors revealed that 65% of respondents said they mistrust technology-based industries to some degree.

The article adds that companies need to let technology serve as an avenue that presents compelling visuals and initiates straightforward discussion. There’s nothing more powerful than helping your clients see the impact of their decisions through a little show-and-tell.

Demand transparency of your firm, your team and yourself, or your clients will beat you to the punch by choosing someone who can provide it.

Prove yourself through innovation

The article adds that the best way to prove your loyalty to clients is to reinforce that you have their best interests at heart by innovating your offering.
Clients trust companies who use technology to eliminate doubts or concerns and showcase their value first-hand. The price of progress is the pain of change.

What we’re facing now is the painful process of assimilating new technologies. In less than 10 years, we’ll be able to jump in the car and let it take control of the wheel. In the future, driverless cars will be the norm. Think of the comfort and trust we’ll have because of the way this technology ensures his safety. The future is closer than we think.

Technology so often is used to hide something, like the true presence of meaningful value. Companies must understand their clients not only crave doing business with brands that look out for their best interest, they adore firms that can demonstrate and deliver on those promises by sharing how their products and services continually evolve to better serve their needs. A firm that innovates is a firm that shows it’s actively reinvesting in the business and, by extension, each one of its clients.

Jordan Govender
Jordan Govender
Designer. Musician. Alien. Nerd. Part of the GTconsult A-Team that makes the impossible possible daily!

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