Social Media Cloak and Dagger

Cloak and Dagger

Sorry Facebook, you should have hired Dabney Coleman if you wanted to try to outwit Google. We all know that a good game of Spies like Us can be fun, but seriously I am surprised at how weak your attempt was, with all your resources and all.

Really this effort was less about espionage and more about changing the conversation, a common tactic in PR and marketing. When something goes bad for a company, e.g. Facebook’s reputation as being shady with our private information, the first thing for them to do is turn the spotlight on someone else.  It is called deflection. We all do it. In our personal lives and at work. It is human nature to protect ourselves, so we shift focus and blame. More often than not it does not usually work out all that great.  People who regularly do this tend to be known as the throwers, as in those who throw people under the bus, when situations get tough. As is the case today with Facebook.

It has done exactly the opposite of what Facebook intended. Now Google looks like the victim, the good guy.  Facebook is left with egg on their face for trying to plant stories and manipulate the media and even more spotlight is on their willingness to cross lines.  Not so good for Facebook, great for Google.  At least in this round. This is just one example of the types of dirty work companies or their followers are willing to stoop too.

Take the case with Tumblr going down.  It happened to me again this week, so I did a little search to see what gives. It turns out it was potentially a repeat offense orchestrated by users of 4chan. Apparently these two user groups are rivalries and have been going at it for awhile.  The problem is when these groups, whether or not it is a company or individuals, wage PR or DDoS attacks against each other, the people who suffer are you and me. In the case of Facebook vs. Google we start to loose even more trust in the security of our data which is held by these giants, and in the case of 4Chan vs. Tumblr we loose access to our voice through our blogs posts and forum posts.

My take on it, is that these companies and individuals should take some expert advice from my dad who always told me to “stop spending so much time worrying about and trying to attack the other guy and just focus on yourself. It can only lead to improvements from within.”


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