Facebook has just experienced its most reputationally damaging week. Its name has been all over the media for the wrong reasons, its market value has dropped by $75bn, and now Mark Zuckerberg has published a full-page personal promise in the papers to do better. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has threatened that future breaking of the rules could result in a $1bn fine. That's a good quotable statement, but will be of little comfort to the millions of users whose personal data is still potentially publicly available, and is small change to a company whose market capitalisation is still in the region of $460bn.
Another day, another story about a data breach - such is life in our connected society - but the real story here is one of trust. In the new economy, where data is the currency being traded and the customer experience is a genuine market force, it's difficult to overstate the importance of trust between customer and business. Without the trust of its users, Facebook has no business model. With it, it's one of the most successful businesses in the world - number 6 on Fortune's Fastest Growing Companies of 2017.
So Zuckerberg's words may come as a comfort to those who haven't yet got on the #deletefacebook bandwagon, but more work is needed. Until the message turns away from tactical fixes - updates to privacy policies, reviews of IT controls and the like - and towards transformational culture change through visionary leadership, issues will keep being experienced and users will gravitate towards a place where they feel safer.
I'm sorry we didn't do more at the time. We're now taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again. -Mark Zuckerberg