This week began interestingly when I commented on a Telegraph article on the iPhone 4, which had it’s ‘10 reasons not to buy the iPhone 4‘, none of which were factually grounded.
I commented saying that it was poor journalism considering it was false information, but the shock came when my comment was promptly deleted. What followed, as you can imagine, was a storm in a tea cup of accusation to the writer of the article and the Telegraph when it was clear they were not just deleting but actually EDITING a large number of the comments that people were making.
Of course, we all know how poor this behaviour is, but I want to look at it in the light of another post by Vikki Chowney at Reputation Online the week before, looking at a recent example of crisis management from Starbucks.
Starbucks’ Facebook page was jacked and a large number of offensive messages were broadcast to it’s 7.5m fans. Starbucks got to work and deleted the comments (which took a long time), but then received criticism for removing all presence of these messages without acknowledging what had taken place. Vikki asked me for my insights, but I think our friend Olivier Blanchard made a great comment in which he said what I was quoted as saying better:
Deleting a comment because it is “inconvenient” is a big no-no. You can’t do that in this space, as Nestle found out. However, deleting (or not approving) a comment because it is purposely offensive and malicious is absolutely fine. I wouldn’t bury the deletion though. It doesn’t hurt to state that one or several comments were deleted because they were offensive and violated the the rules of acceptable behavior on the community page. That takes care of the transparency issue. Starbucks shouldn’t sweat it, though. They did the right thing and acted responsibly in this instance.
Here’s my point: Transparency in 2012 will mean documentation of every action.
You can’t just change anything anymore. The Wikipedia model, that every change (no matter how miniscule) is documented is going to become the standard.
For the Telegraph, this means that if you really must moderate and eject comments that touch your brand, then you need to put them in an ‘eject section’ that can be perused if users so wish. (By the way, watch this and tell what is difference between Nestlé and Telegraph?)
For Starbucks, it means and me and Olivier pointed out, you need to acknowledge the incident at the least.
Your Leading Thoughts
- How do you think this will effect bloggers like myself? Like editing pages and posts?
- How do you think this translates into deleting tweets, etc? Does this mean we have to think a lot more before we tweet?
- Most importantly: Why is transparency becoming a big deal?