Twitter risks bottom line to regain its reputation
If you noticed a sharp decline in the number of people who follow you on Twitter as of this morning, don’t panic. It’s not your reputation that’s in trouble, it’s Twitter’s. According to the New York Times, Twitter is ruthlessly deleting tens of thousands of fake accounts. While the move is likely to help their reputation, it could hurt their bottom line. Like many companies, Twitter relies on its follower count as proof of concept. A drop in users often means a drop in stock prices. Which is ironic since the 6% of eliminated accounts weren’t real in the first place.
Note to Twitter Influencers: if you’ve been charging sponsors based on a large number of fake followers, be prepared to take a pay cut.
Costco gets roasted for taking hot dogs off the menu
Another company taking the heat for doing the right thing is Costco. Dozens of news outlets say that the company has removed the beloved Polish hot dogs from the menu, replacing them with healthy alternatives like Acai Bowls. Customers took to social media airwaves to complain using the hashtag #SaveThePolishDog. Says one fan: “Hey, Costco, if I wanted a healthier vegan-friendly option I wouldn’t be at your food court… “
Though studies show that consumers support companies who give back to the community, in this case, the community just wants Costco to give back their fattening but yummy, lunchtime treat.
YouTube puts the news in context to help stop the spread of misinformation
While Twitter is eliminating fake users, YouTube is trying a different tactic to keep the fake news from spreading through the site. Rather than shut down users, YouTube is launching a program that will give viewers more information when they search for certain topics. Not sure if the moon landing really happened? YouTube will serve up a Wikipedia link above the results so you can decide if TheMoonIsInHollywood knows what he’s talking about or not. They’re also working on displaying links to reliable written content by known journalists to round out coverage of breaking news stories.
YouTube is hoping that the initiative will raise the level of trust in the company and in turn promote their reputation as a reliable source for news.
Does cutting ties with an offender instantly save your company’s reputation?
Last week, Netflix fired its communications chief for using racial slurs in meetings. ABC cut ties with Roseanne Barr after she posted inappropriate comments on Twitter. This past Monday, Uber’s Chief People Officer (that’s a real thing?) turned in her resignation after she was accused of ignoring employee complaints of discrimination and harassment.
In all three cases, the parting was very public but does that mean the public is ready to forgive and forget? Not always. ABC’s swift action saved them from further embarrassment but Uber and Netflix will have to dig a little deeper. A toxic company culture doesn’t revolve around one person, so firing one person won’t solve the problem. If Uber’s Chief People Officer was fired for ignoring complaints, that means there were plenty of other problem employees out there who still need to be dealt with.
For more on that, check out this Inc article by Sonia Thompson with tips on how to protect your company culture.