Facebook – of all companies – should know better

We say it over and over again on this blog and in our presentations and workshops: we are living in a new era of ultra transparency. You can’t get away with things, you can’t hide information, you can’t fool your market place. Of course, you can – for a little while. But the new world of work will find you out sooner rather than later. The interconnected online community will be watching – and the bigger you are the more people are involved in doing so.

Facebook is at the heart of the social media revolution, and, together with Google, Wikileaks and others are doing their bit to make sure that people can connect and that information can be shared. So, of all companies, Facebook should have known that they cannot do anything “in secret”.

If you haven’t picked up the news story yet, it’s a big one, and Facebook has egg all over its face. Facebook has confirmed it hired a public relations company to pitch anti-Google stories to the media on its behalf, anonymously – but insisted it had never intended a smear campaign. The PR firm has now said it should never have taken on the job while agreeing to keep Facebook’s identity secret (duh!). The Google service under fire is Social Circles, which Facebook says breached the privacy of Google users. It it were true that would be highly embarrassing to Google, which abandoned its Buzz service after making exactly that mistake. But the ploy has backfired and Facebook has been caught out.

Read FastCompany’s insightful take on the situation here.

Unbelievable. How can you forget and contravene the basic tenets of the world you’re actually trying to create. Shame on Facebook for this. Let’s hope there’s some lessons learned. For everyone. There are no more secrets.

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