Social media giant Facebook takes rap for privacy backlash

Facebook is in danger of becoming a lightning rod for social media criticism, digital marketing experts have warned.

Facebook found itself under fire following the publication of an article in the Daily Mail last week that made false claims it was unsafe for young people due to sexual predators. The Daily Mail printed an apology on 11 March.

Will McInnes, MD of Nixon McInnes, said: 'Facebook is taking a few hits in media land. From an insider's point of view, it has racked up faults, failures and mistakes, becoming the default fall guy.'

McInnes did not believe Facebook should shoulder responsibility on its own for evoking change in the industry, but said there were things it could do to help: 'There is a huge incentive for (Facebook) to get it right and it can do this by educating those who are at risk.'

Julius Duncan, director of reputation management at social media agency Headstream, said Facebook needed to keep a close eye on the repercussions of the story across the social media landscape before considering its next move.

He said: 'Reputation management is not always about responding immediately, and potentially fuelling the fire, but understanding potential consequences of every action.'

A Facebook spokesman said: 'We have a responsibility to bring about the debate and to promote our educational work around the subject of privacy. We believe this requires a cross-industry, collaborative approach to succeed.'

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