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Posts Tagged ‘Nick O’Neill’

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg ‘Paranoid’ About Potential Competitors

Our sibling blog reports on Google’s potential Facebook competitor, “Google Me.”

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Facebook Privacy Changes Make Next Week’s TIME Magazine Cover


You know an issue has gone mainstream when it hits the cover of TIME magazine. Facebook’s privacy issues are front and center in the magazine’s next issue.

We gather that overall Facebook PR is actually somewhat pleased with the article, as it does little digging into new issues around privacy, but instead brings forth information that is mostly already public to a larger audience.

Facebook director of communications Brandee Barker, now on maternity leave, “liked” the article on her Facebook account.

However, there was one minor PR snafu that made it to print.

Author Dan Fletcher included in the story that a company spokesman “got tripped up trying to explain to me why my co-worker has a shorter privacy-controls menu than I do.”

“Ultimately, very little that’s new is revealed in the article,” writes Nick O’Neill at our sibling blog AllFacebook.

Facebook Staffed Up D.C. Public Affairs Office Well Before Recent Senate Privacy Concerns

Facebook is currently facing charges from Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) that the social network does not respect user’s privacy.

Schumer told CNN, in a segment that also featured Nick O’Neill from our sibling blog, “the fact that you have to opt out, and the fact that the opt out procedure is complicated, clearly means that people have less control.” He was referring to Facebook sharing user data with third party sites.

Issues like this could be one reason why Facebook staffed up its D.C. public affairs office months ago. The office consists of four staffers, PRNewser has learned, and is led by Timothy Sparapani, a former senior attorney with American Civil Liberties Union. Adam Conner is Associate Manager for policy. The company also recently added Corey Owens, previously the Press Secretary at the Constitution Project, a D.C. privacy group to their D.C. team.

Andrew Noyes, formerly a reporter with CongressDaily, joined Facebook as Manager, Public Policy Communications in October 2009. In a PRNewser interview at the time, Noyes said, in regards to Facebook’s challenges communicating privacy issues:

You’ve got the FTC, which is very interested in privacy and consumer issues. They are the lead agency on this and they’ve expressed a lot of interest in taking a hard look at how companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and others are using people’s personal info and protecting data.

You have so many cooks in the kitchen so to speak so sometimes messages get muddled. The biggest challenge is making sure Washington truly understands what Facebook is, what Facebook offers and how it protects user’s information.

When we caught up with Noyes today to talk about Schumer’s comments, he sent us the following statement:

We appreciate the concerns raised by Sen. Schumer and expect that further dialogue with interested members of Congress about the user controls that accompany the tools announced by Facebook last week will alleviate any concerns they may have.

He also said Facebook is looking to make one more hire in their D.C. office. The Federal Trade Commission indicated they will weigh into the debate at some point.

Brand Implications Of Facebook Changing ‘Become A Fan’ To ‘Like’


Facebook is phasing out “Become a Fan” and replacing it with the already existing “Like” button. Why?

As Nick O’Neill writes on our sibling blog, “One of the major drivers of the verb change is that ‘Like’ performs much better than ‘Become A Fan.’ The other is that developers will be much more likely to implement ‘Like’ within their applications as it’s easier to integrate into other applications and websites.”

A Facebook spokesperson tells PRNewser, “In the next few weeks we will introduce a small language change that will allow people to connect to a Page by clicking ‘Like.’ This will replace ‘Become a Fan’ ads but will not affect the functionality of Pages at all.”

The implications for brands is that this potentially could help them build much larger audiences on Facebook. As we previously reported, social gaming has already changed communications on the Facebook platform, allowing brands to “buy” half a million fans with one campaign.

If all people have to do is “like” a brand to receive all of the same updates they would as when they decided to “become a fan,” we can expect numbers to shoot up even more. However, as they shoot up, brands will increasingly need to look beyond “number of fans” and into deeper metrics around engagement and e-commerce.

Here at PRNewser, we’re still waiting for the “dislike’ button.

How Many People Work In Facebook’s PR Department?

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The answer would be 25, according to a Facebook PR rep we spoke with. So how do reporters who cover the company describe its public relations strategy? It’s a delicate question for those reporters looking to maintain their level of access with the social networking powerhouse.

Facebook “plays a fair game of PR hardball” said Nick O’Neill, editor of PRNewser’s sibling site

Another reporter we spoke with said the Facebook PR team told them they get hundreds of media inquiries a day — not surprising. But despite the flood of inquiries, the PR team is responsive.

“A lot of companies will operate a sort of press@ or newsroom@ email address for general inquiries and Facebook I’ve found is one of the best companies at maintaining that,” said CNET’s Caroline McCarthy.

Facebook is “pretty straight-forward” when it comes to releasing company news, said another editor, occasionally giving exclusives to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, but more often than not opting to release news to their company blog or via their invite-only Facebook group for members of the media and analysts who cover the company.

Facebook also employs Outcast Communications as its agency of record, and occasionally hires Brooke Hammerling‘s Brew Media Relations for project work.

Like any growing company, Facebook has faced PR hurdles…

Read more

Facebook Continues To Face PR Challenges Around Privacy

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Facebook again updated its privacy settings this week, and the move has been met with mixed reviews. Some have applauded that fact that users have more control over their data, while others are concerned about default settings being set up to have users publicly share the most amount of data – not just with their Facebook network, but to the entire web.

As’s Nick O’Neill writes, “While Facebook has always been about sharing with friends, it will soon be much more about sharing with the world.”

Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said, “Although sold as a ‘privacy’ revamp, Facebook’s new changes are obviously intended to get people to open up even more of their Facebook data to the public.” That being said, Bankston said there are some good things to come out of the changes, which have, “simplified Facebook’s privacy settings, reducing the overall number of settings while making them clearer and easier for users to find and understand.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted an open letter about the changes on the company’s blog. Privacy seems to be the primary communications issue of late for the social network. Despite the challenges, numerous sources have told PRNewser the company is extremely happy with the work of their PR agency of record, Outcast Communications.

RELATED: Interview: Andrew Noyes, Manager of Public Policy Communications, Facebook