Posted June 15, 2010 10:03 am by with 16 comments

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While I’ve followed the story about Mark Zuckerberg dissing the iPhone, it wasn’t really of much interest to me–or to you.

Until today.

For those of you unaware, the Facebook CEO posted the following to his Facebook page:

For a CEO with a high profile such as Zuckerberg, that probably wasn’t the smartest of things to do. After all, journalists didn’t just write about Mark Zuckerberg making the claim, no, they wrote about the Facebook CEO dissing Apple.

Now, what’s the Radically Transparent way to nip this in the bud? Make an apology on Facebook? Stage a coffee shop group hug with Steve Jobs? Be seen showing off your iPhone to your friends in a trendy LA nightclub? Hmm, all not bad.

Certainly the best way to nip this in the bud is not this approach:

Yep, Zuckerberg thought he could make this controversy vanish by simply deleting his post. Oh, if it were that simple. Not only is this not the equivalent of the flashing Men-In-Black pen–we won’t all simply forget it happened–but it keeps the story going. Why did he delete it? Did Apple pressure him? Blah, blah blah.

Online reputation management tip #137: Deleting a post only ever works, if you have an explanation or apology to go along with it!

So remember, just like elephants, the web never forgets.

  • Jon Shockness

    His post doesn’t seem like anything that should raise feedback. If you’re constantly using your iPhone the battery will run out eventually and the other part of his comment seemed to be aimed towards the shit show service AT&T runs.

  • What’s with all these rookie mistakes by big social names? It seems the industry is progressing so quickly that even the moguls make significant gaffes.

  • Really? This is news? He’s no longer entitled to make funny comments? Good God man.

    • I guess you didn’t read my post. It’s the deletion of the post that is the story.

      • Ron

        Really? This is news? He’s no longer entitled to delete funny comments? Good God man.

      • Yeah – still not a story. Sorry. Nice (nasty?) way to try and whip up some page views with an artificial non-controversy though. Yuck – blogosphere at its worst.

  • Dean

    Let’s face it, beating up on Zuckerberg is becoming a cottage industry lately. The fact that AT&T service is lousy is no news to anyone with an iPhone. This was a joke. Should CEOs make jokes at the expense of other companies? Maybe not but c’mon people, its not like he revealed the formula for Coke. As Andy has pointed out his real crime was erasing the post. A simple “It was a joke people” would have been fine.

  • Carie

    I agree with the Jon Shockenss’s comments: Seems to be a diss on AT&T. An easily-earned diss, I might add. I’ve been an AT&T customer for about 10 years now. Ever since the iPhone overloaded their systems, the service is SHIT. Almost every call I make is dropped and sometimes I have to dial 4-5 times just to get a line out.

    Also, iPhone users are kinda the worst.

    I’m glad someone spoke up. I’m so tired of this whole pandering, PC, no-one-has-an-opinion bullshit. I think potentially influential people like Zuckerberg should give their opinions. After all, an oyster needs a grain of sand, to make a pearl.

    And FB isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It may lose a few privacy-minded people, but for the most part too many people who don’t give a shit about that stuff are addicted.

  • As Andy has noted above….most of your comments defending or condemning Zuckerburg, Apple, the iPhone, or AT&T have completely missed the point of the article. This isn’t an article about phones or Zuckerberg. It’s an article about online reputation management. The point is that the best way to deal with a controversy, especially online, is not to simply delete the content in question and pretend it never existed, especially when cached pages and screenshots can ensure it lives on forever. If you are a personality as popular as Zuckerberg it’s a rookie mistake to simply delete it without commenting as to why, especially if you stand on your soapbox and espouse transparency and openness as Zuckerberg does.

    The company I work for recently had a disgruntled ex-employee post negative comments on our Facebook page. We could have deleted the comment but chose instead to respond in a calm and measured manner and asked some happy former employees to respond. The feedback we received for being willing to be open and reasonable far outweighed the benefit of simply deleting the former employee,s comments.

  • He should have left it up, that is what drives traffic and creates controversy

  • Edward


    that was one of the the worst blog posts I ever read on the Internet. First of all: he is right, Apple iPhone is a mediocre product physically, you can find a lot of other phones with better hardware (and software, IMO). Apple uses a disturbing marketing model, based on some idiot american snooty arseholes (and their parents of course), it’s annoying. And there is that guy, who actually speaks up against this issue, and you, the “expert” says, “yea, that wasn’t the smartest thing”. And apologize. Or you can’t be a successful man. Yes, said by Andy Beal to Marc Zuckerberg. You’re following me, right?

    Okay, the post is not about the iPhone, Apple, Facebook, AT&T or Zuckerburg. It’s about online reputation management, which is an empty buzzword, created by some lazy morons, who couldn’t finish a proper university.

    That’s kinda sad, you know?

  • so true weird thing is I did not know about this before now.

  • Dear Andy,

    I have really enjoyed browsing your posts. Thanks for sharing this information. Someone on Yahoo Answers referred me here and I love it.

  • Whilst Zuckerberg’s comments were clearly a joke, the way the comment read seemed as though he was taking a swipe at Apple, not just making a simple pun. Besides this, people in high-profile positions should think carefully before they send something out into the public domain, although this doesn’t stop most of the politicians making gaffs from time to time.

  • joe t.

    As much as MZ is a typical 20-something impudent twat sometimes, was he really wrong? And what difference does it make to Apple’s sales if he tosses a jab their way?

    The web-media: creating controversy where none exists in order to self-validate.