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Transparency and transition are two catchwords that have long been all the rage in the world of business. Transparency, or clarity, implies credibility of a given firm and has become one of criteria of a vendor selection. A transparent and honest relationship is what guarantees long-term business relations. The market is saturated, and of all the companies competing for our attention we are bound to choose the one with the reputation for being honest and a fair player.

Transparency Stands for Credibility

The digital revolution gave us tools to check nearly every brand against online resources. Nowadays, we can verify a firm’s credibility by simply logging onto the Internet. Recruiters scan through a candidate’s Facebook profile and other social media. Algorithms suggest new friends to us, as well as websites and brands that we may like, based on our posts and other forms of online activity.

Any scandal, whether in media or financial sector, will stick with an involved company forever. Internet never forgets. We begin to associate a firm, person or brand with what we can dig up about them  on Internet.

A scandal that has recently made headlines involved Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, responsible for an explosive leakage of personal data of 87 million Facebook users globally. The social media behemoth was slammed for such inappropriate practices as storing call and text message records, as well as  archiving the content recorded by Internet users. Facebook’s image took a nasty blow. It did not take it long to address the situation.

So what did Mark Zuckerberg propose to do? For one thing, he was not trying to sweep the whole thing under the carpet. Instead, he took the full responsibility as demonstrated by the following actions:

  • He announced introduction of new extra security measures designed to reduce the applications’ access to user information,
  • He held a number of conferences during which he promised to use his best efforts to eliminate the problem,
  • He declared his active support and participation in changes and processes necessary to eradicate this kind of issues.

He took the entire blame for what happened.

After the first wave of media frenzy, when many experts predicted a rapid decline of the social media juggernaut, Facebook stepped up and made attempts at fixing its tarnished reputation. While there is still a lot of criticism addressed at the firm, it is hard not to notice its efforts to manage the crisis.

First of all, Zuckerberg is not the one to hide his head in the sand. The social media mogul takes the whole responsibility for the situation and vows to leave no stone unturned to prevent such things from happening in the future.  He takes a step further, calling for regulations putting a user in the centre.

Expert have started to point out to the bright side of the scandal. While Facebook will definitely experience setbacks, the market and investors will be the ones to suffer most. Users will only benefit from the situation, claim experts. Subjected to public scrutiny, the company is now faced with an enormous challenge. Every step it takes is being watched and judged.

I realize that the measures lately adopted by Facebook are part of the company’s strategy to fix its reputation. However, in the view of recent  developments on the market, it seems clear that the firm cannot have opted for a better course of action.

The process of change has already started. It will hit application developers, marketers and analytical tools.  What about us users? We should look at the bright side of this affair and how it can play to our advantage. It is enough to recall the situation from a couple of years ago, when the first mobile phones hit the market. What was essentially a monopoly operating in the realm of a provider-oriented market has turned into a user-driven market, with a service subscriber calling the shots.

Mark Zuckerberg offers a great example of a leader faced with a challenging task. He makes a commitment and plans to keep his promises; he knows full well that he will be held accountable for them sooner or later. The change is not going to happen overnight and will require a lot of work. Time will tell whether it was the right path to take.

Mirella Piwiszkis
Business Psychologist, Mentor, Founder of INSPIRE