Tuesday, February 12, 2008

$15 billion can buy a lot of publicists

Yesterday a few dozen people read this site. One of them, apparently, was a publicist for Facebook. Who must have had a very slow day at work yesterday, as she felt it necessary to send me a message through my Facebook account that began:

Hi Daniel,

Saw that you wrote today regarding Facebook account deletion and hoping you could update your piece with the following comment which you can attribute to Brandee Barker at Facebook:

The comment that followed was, as you might expect, generic spinning of the New York Times piece I wrote about yesterday, explaining that, of course, it's just a big misunderstanding and, of course, it's something they're working on explaining better:

We are working to better explain the simple deactivation process, and to ease the deletion process for those who want their personal information removed from our servers.

How much better? Well, the link she included to a page explaining their policies further wasn't actually valid. But hey, I'm sure it's there somewhere, because that's Facebook, right? They're always looking out for you.

In fact, they're so concerned about you, apparently, that they're going to send a legion of PR flacks out to send messages to anyone writing about them--no matter how two-bit that writer is (present company absolutely included)--so that you you know how much they care.

They care so much, in fact, that she was also so happy to provide "just as background" a "look at how other Internet companies address data delete requests." Those "other Internet companies"? Just Google--and those links worked just fine.

And so we arrive once again at the Facebook way: get caught fucking up and spin and spin and spin and spin and spin.

Fake Steve, take it away:

it doesn't really seem to be in their nature to do the right thing. Their instinct, in fact, seems to be to do the wrong thing, and to keep doing it until they get caught. Even after they get caught, their instinct is to spin and fudge and brazen it out. ... Either that or they truly are a bunch of spoiled and scarily fucking clueless kids who honestly have no idea why people are upset about this, because they truly have no moral compass and they view this whole thing as just another pain in the ass hurdle to get over on the way to becoming rich.


Paul M. Davis said...

Apparently Facebook could learn much from Apple's PR department. This is how you do it, folks:

1. Acknowledge receipt of interview request
2. Vaguely respond that you're "trying to find an answer to the questions"
3. Repeat until article is past deadline