Not long ago, one of the Instagram executives explained that Facebook had paused the development of Instagram Kids. The announcement was made on a morning show on American television, in which he insisted that he believed it was the best idea to create a safe environment for the little ones but that they wanted to reach a greater consensus sooner.
The idea that Facebook was working on this service option was made public a few months ago. The children’s version of Instagram was not something that was so far out of the norm, because other social networks had made moves in that direction before, but it managed to quickly arouse angry protests. Instagram already had many problems and a children’s version did not seem the solution to any of them.
That in September they gave the pause button is not, looking back, so surprising. What was not known then was that the pause button was going to be Facebook’s great strategy to fight the situation that was going to come upon it. Facebook does not have a good reputation: it has been lost for years and no matter how much they try to correct public perception, they are not succeeding.
This past week, however, has been a kind of final blow to the company’s public image. The fall for hours of all her services was the first big blow against her reputation, completed with the intervention before the US Congress – there has also been a call with the European Commission – of the worker who had leaked to The Wall Street Journal of a large number of documents harmful to your public image.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has published on his Facebook profile the letter that I send to the employees, denying all the accusations of the last days, but the truth is that it hardly matters. The reputational damage is enormous .
How to survive? The company must correct course and modify the strategy. He is doing it via stoppage. As has been able to tell The Wall Street Journal , Facebook has delayed the launch of new products that have come out in recent days, so this does not happen in the midst of the scandal. The launch delay is accompanied by image management work.
A dozen workers are focusing on doing “reputational reviews” of these products, to see if their launch will have an impact generating new criticism. Basically they are passing the cotton test on everything. They do not want the new to generate new criticism or to be products with a potential negative impact on children.
The stoppage of Instagram Kids is understood in light of this. In addition, according to the Journal , Facebook is also analyzing its own internal information. It is combing its own research to find data that could be detrimental to Facebook’s public image if made public outside the company. The big question is whether all of this will be enough or whether Facebook isn’t simply patching it up instead of fixing a much bigger problem.