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Is Facebook the Right Place to Share Bad Company News?




When a big company sends around a controversial internal memo, it’s generally just a matter of time before the memo is leaked to the press. Maybe that’s why RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser decided to post his memo about layoffs on his Facebook page.

This “beat them to the punch” strategy makes Glaser look like a compassion, above-board guy who stands behind his decisions, good and bad. It also puts him squarely in the line of fire for those who don’t agree with his methods.

For Glaser, the outcome has been mostly positive. Overly positive, actually, with Facebook comments that sound sympathetic. Poor, Mr. Glaser, it’s tough to layoff workers, we feel bad for you. Really? This so could have gone the other way.

A blogger for the NYTimes wrote a piece about Mr. Glaser’s announcement and recent Facebook postings by Netflix boss Reed Hastings. Hastings publicly praised an executive who brought a huge licensing deal to the company. Nice, but the post came perilously close to breaking regulatory disclosure rules.

What surprises me is that these top CEOs are using Facebook to make serious statements about their company. Facebook, the place where you can play The Walking Dead Game and look at drunk photos of your friends. Is this really the right environment for a message about laying off 160 people?

Can you see where this might make the CEO look like he’s not taking this seriously? Like this is just another PR moment? Why not notify workers by Twitter, @charlie, @susan, @frank, clean out your desks, you’re done.

A study by CEO.com shows that only 7.6% of Fortune 500 company CEOs are on Facebook. Maybe the rest of them think like I do, that the fun and frivolous Facebook is no place to discuss company business.