Facebook: A New York City-Sized PR Problem

July 20, 2018

I read “Once nimble Facebook Trips Over Calls to Control Content.” If you are looking for this write up online, the story’s headline was changed to “What Stays on Facebook and What Goes? The Social Network Cannot Answer.” You may be able to locate the online version at this link. (No promises.) The dead tree version is on Page A1 of the July 20, 2018, edition which comes out on Thursday night. Got the timeline square?

I wanted to highlight a handful of comments in the “real” news story. Here we go with direct statements from the NYT article in red:

  1. The print version headline uses the phrase “once nimble.” Here in Harrod’s Creek that means stumbling bobolyne. In Manhattan, the phrase may mean something like “advertise more in the New York Times.” I am, of course, speculating.
  2. I marked in weird greenish yellow this statement: “Facebook still seems paralyzed over how to respond.” So much for nimble.
  3. Another: “Comically tripped up”. Yep, a clown’s smile on the front page of the NYT.
    Related image
  4. My favorite: The context for being a bit out of his depth. Whatever does “yet lucidity remai9ned elusive.” Does this mean stupid, duplicitous, or something else?
  5. I thought Silicon Valley wunderkind were sharp as tacks. In the NYT, I read “Facebook executives’ tortured musings.” Not Saturday Night Live deep thoughts, just musings and tortured ones at that.
  6. How does Facebook perceive “real” journalism? Well, not the way the NYT does. I circled this phrase about Alex Jones, a luminary with some avid believers one mine drainage ditch down the road a piece which is Kentucky talk for “some”: “Just being false doesn’t violate community standards” and “Infowars was a publisher with a ‘different point of view.’”
  7. This is a nifty sequence crafted to recycle another “real” journalist’s scoop interview with Mark Zuckerberg: “what Facebook would or would not allow on its site became even more confusing.” So, a possible paralyzed clown who lacks lucidity is confusing.
  8. The “bizarre idea” word pair makes sure I understand what the NYT believes in a lack of clear thinking.

But these brief rhetorical flourishes set up this statement:

A Facebook spokeswoman [who is not identified] explained that it would be possible, theoretically, to deny the Holocaust without triggering Facebook’s hate-speech clause.

Those pesky algorithms are at work. But the failure to identify the person at Facebook who offered this information is not identified. Why not?

Here’s another longer statement from the NYT write up:

And what exactly constitutes imminent violence is a shifting line, the company said— it is still ‘iterating on’ its policy, and the rules may change.

I don’t want to be too dumb, but I would like to know who at the company offered the statement. A company, to my knowledge, cannot talk unless one considers firing a question at Amazon’s Alexa.

I put an exclamation point on this statement in the NYT article:

All of this fails a basic test: It’s not even coherent. It is a hodge podge of declarations and exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions.

Net net: Facebook has a public relations problem with the New York Times. Because of the influence of the “real” newspaper and its “real” journalists, Facebook has a PR problem of magnitude. Perhaps the point of the story is to create an opportunity for a NYT ad sales professional to explain the benefits of a full page ad across the print and online versions of the New York Times?

Stephen E Arnold, July 20, 2018


One Response to “Facebook: A New York City-Sized PR Problem”

  1. Rosario Arfman on August 5th, 2018 12:42 pm

    Hi you have a cool website It was very easy to post it’s nice

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