A month ago, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was flying high: A brilliant beloved 23 year-old billionaire already crowned the “next Bill Gates.” (left)
Now, a month later, after an over-hyped product launch, misleading statements about how the product worked, a user backlash, and a detailed magazine article raising some icky issues about his personal ethics, a consensus is emerging that Zuckerberg is, well, a bit of a weasel. (Albeit a fabulously wealthy and talented one.)
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: A public statement in which Mark takes responsibility for the Beacon backlash, apologizes to Facebook users and advertisers, and promises that neither he nor the company will play fast and loose with their trust again.
The Winklevoss Affair (Zuckerberg’s alleged theft of the Facebook idea from other Harvard undergrads) is ancient history and will quickly be forgotten…unless Mark Zuckerberg’s current behaviour continues to remind people of it. The transition from feisty, anonymous underdog to global public brand-representative, meanwhile, is a tough one, especially when it happens overnight. Zuckerberg is not the first to have struggled with the latter, and he won’t be the last. But if Mark wants people to start rooting for him and Facebook again, it’s time to stand up and say, “I/We screwed up.” This would not only have the benefit of being a smart PR strategy: It would also be the right thing to do.
See Also: NYT: Zuckerberg Misled Us; Coke: Ditto
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