Sony comms under fire for being 'too little, too late'

Crisis experts say company's reaction to theft of user data 'too little, too late'.

Security breach: Sony's PlayStation network hacked
Security breach: Sony's PlayStation network hacked

Crisis PR experts have criticised Sony's delay in handling the PlayStation hacking scandal.

The names, email addresses, birth dates, PlayStation login details and credit card details of 77 million users were put at risk when the network was hacked on 20 April, but the firm only revealed the security breach six days later.

Hanover director Gavin Megaw said: 'Sony's delay in notifying its users was unacceptable and may have been driven by a corporate desire to find blame first, thus insulating themselves legally. With the first lawsuit already filed, it remains to be seen how successful this approach was. Certainly from a comms view it hasn't been.

'Organisations must learn to react quicker and from the user's perspective. That will earn trust and respect, even when things go horribly wrong. Sony is now doing this through sites, blogs and Twitter feeds - but its users may see this as too little, too late.'

Edelman global vice-chairman and chief content officer Richard Sambrook added: 'Management actions and comms need to be forged into one response in a crisis. In the age of instant comms there isn't the space to act and communicate separately.

'This is always challenging, particularly for some cultures - like Japan's - where what you do is seen as more important than what you say. However, in the 7/24 global environment, they can amount to the same thing.'

Sony has faced headlines such as 'Data theft hurts Sony's image', 'Security breach will cost Sony much more than money', 'Sony faces global legal scrutiny over breach' and 'Gamers fuming over PlayStation hack' in the wake of the crisis.

The firm declined to comment on its future PR strategy.

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