Edelman Trust Barometer 2012 says trust in social media is up

The latest installement of the Edelman Trust Barometer has now been published and as usual, it is interesting reading. This year, there have been some dramatic changes in the views of the public in most of the countries surveyed. Trust in government, business and NGO’s is declining while trust in media is rising.

Trust in government shows an exceptionally sharp drop in the 2012 Barometer, after rising steadily for four years. In Sweden (“informed public”), trust in government is quite stable, dropping only from 64% to 62%, making Sweden the market with the fourth highest level of trust in government. Trust in business is also decreasing, although in Sweden it is acutally up from 52% to 54%, possibly thanks to the relatively stable Swedish economy compared to many other countries.

If we look at different media sources, it is interesting to see the dramatic increase in trust in social media, now almost at the same level as corporate information. Note: responses are for “informed public”, i.e. college educated, high income, high media consumption.


Overall, there is a huge drop in trust for CEO’s while trust in pers such as regular employees and “a person like yourself” is increasing dramatically.


In other words, there is less trust in messages communicated by CEO’s through traditional corporate channels and increased trust in messages from our peers, communicated through for example social media channels. There’s a lot more to read and you’ll find the whole presentation here below.

London police name and shame rioters on Flickr

In August this year, the Manchester police in the UK tweeted the names and birth dates of people who have been convicted in relation to the UK riots. Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police Service in London published photos on its official Flickr page of 64 people who had been convicted for offences during the riots. Details of the convicted include name, birth date, street/location, offence and sentence. Among them for example, an 18-year old that was sentenced to five years and ten months for violent disorder, robbery and burglary.

The photos on Flickr are published with a Creative Commons license so that anyone is allowed to share and use the images.

images of convicted uk rioters

I find this practice to be an appalling abuse of power and I hope it doesn’t spread to other parts of law enforcement. Police in Stockholm have announced they will increase its focus on social media in 2012, but I strongly believe they are more sensible than the police in the UK.

Hat tip to Neville Hobson for the link to this story.

Facebook brand pages under attack from activists – Chiquita next in line

The last few days have proven once again that open social media spaces such as Facebook pages and corporate blogs are becoming targets for disgruntled consumers or activists all over the globe. My recent posts covered how fans of Saab fill the Facebook wall of GM with negative comments and pictures. A week earlier, US appliance store Lowe’s Facebook page got more than 9,000 comments from people aggressively debating whether the company was right to pull its ads from the reality show All American Muslim.

Nescafé and #nescafail
The latest example comes from Hungary, where the local Facebook page of Nescafé came under siege. The company arranged a competition which asked people to send an idea for a project. Janos Szolnoki asked for some help from the community on the popular website 9gag in order to win the contest and win $5000, so he could help his little brother who is disabled. He gained an incredible 47,000 likes to his entry, but Nescafé still didn’t pick his entry for the final round (actually in line with the contest rules, but still…). This angered the online community that started tweeting with the hashtags #nescafail and #scumbagcafe. A Facebook page called Occupy Unfair Nescafé was launched and the local Hungarian Nescafé Facebook page was swamped with comments. Nescafé eventually responded, and did so quite well in my view.

NESCAFE Hungary Facebook


More about this story here and here.

Chiquita delete negative comments
Yet another Facebook page that is under fire is the page of Chiquita. The company has announced it is boycotting oil from Canada’s oilsands, which has led to a counter-attack from Canadians arguing their oil is “ethical” in comparison to the oil from countries like Iran and Saudia Arabia. A campaign called Chiquita Conflict is using websites, Twitter and more to fight against the decision by the banana brand. Two Ministers of the Canadian Parliament have even tweeted about the reverse boycott.

A part of the campaign is to comment on the Chiquita Facebook page, which does not let anyone post on the wall, you can only comment on updates by the brand itself. Comments criticizing the company are being deleted after only a few minutes. Here are some exampels I managed to catch.

Negative comments to this post:


These comments were soon deleted:


Then a new negative comment was posted, but then later deleted:


Chiquita may not convince Canadians to buy more bananas, but by being extremely clear what they expect from visitors to the page, they at least have guidelines to lean against when they delete comments. Chiquita maintain tight control over the Facebook page. I’m not saying it is the perfect solution – what they gain in control, they lose in interactivity. But at least their page doesn’t look like GM’s.

From the Chiquita Banana Page Rules:

“We love it when our fans leave comments, photos, videos and links about Chiquita brands and products. Administrators will review page content to ensure that there are no offensive, inappropriate, or unrelated items and will moderate or remove content that is not in compliance with our terms and conditions.

Facebook pages have become the new battleground for brand activism and brands will face more challenges as more consumers are realizing the power a few thousand comments can have on Facebook. Brands must pay attention and make sure they have their house (and guidelines) in order before disaster strikes. There’s no need to panic if you are well prepared, even if you become the subject of a social media crisis.

Hat tip to Markus Welin about Nescafé: http://twitter.com/#!/markuswelin

Update: One problem with monitoring negative comments is that the Facebook page administrator sleeps at night, but (some) activists are awake. And they take advantage of that fact. These comments have been up on the Chiquita page for 6-10 hours:

Chiquita Banana

GM silent as Saab crisis on Facebook escalates

As I wrote yesterday, angry fans of the Swedish car brand Saab are taking out their frustration of the Saab bankruptcy on former owners GM and their Facebook page. GM has not written anything on their page since December 16 and the stream of negative comments and nasty images have not decreased. If the strategy from GM is to sit and watch while this blows over, they are running the risk of having their brand severely damaged in the process. The crisis shows no signs of having reached a pinnacle yet.

Images posted on the wall are getting worse and worse. Now, there is even an image portraying GM Chairman Daniel Akerson as Hitler.

GM Saab Facebook

A “Boycott General Motors” Facebook group has also been launched, currently attracting more than 100 people.

Boycott General Motors Facebook Group

Even the General Motors page on Wikipedia is under attack.
General Motors Wikipedia

General Motors Wikipedia

In other words, the inactivity from GM may eventually hurt them more than if they took action. How long can GM tolerate this outrage on their Facebook page? One day, two days, a week? GM aren’t communicating almost anything about the Saab bankruptcy. One press statement was issued yesterday about the warranty programs for US Saab owners but other than that, GM are silent. So what should GM do?

The first thing they should have done a long time a go, was to have issued community guidelines or comments policy for the Facebook page. Without a policy in place, GM can’t remove anything from the page without running the risk of being accused of censorship.

Another thing GM might want to consider is actively communicating their view of the discussion, like Lowe’s Home Improvement did, after having the same kind of kerfuffle after pulling ads from the All American Muslim reality show.

Lowes Home Improvement on Facebook

We will continue to watch this crisis as it unfolds.

GM’s Facebook page attacked by angry Saab fans

saabOn Monday, a Swedish court approved the Saab Automobile bankruptcy petition, filed by the company CEO Victor Muller, which may mean the end of the car brand Saab. Angry and sad Saab fans now blame GM for, among other things, blocking any possibility of a deal with Chinese automakers that could have saved the brand. Many of the fans have taken their frustration out on GM’s Facebook page, which currently is a mix of angry comments and images of Saab cars. A few GM supporters are also joining the discussion but they are clearly in minority.

Some examples of comments:

“So… Let me get this straight. When you guys are on the brink of Bankruptcy, you just go to the Government and have them bail you out. But when SAAB tries to save themselves you jerks screw them. Thank, you. Thank you very much. I hope you have a Merry Christmas.”

“Pathetic GM = Pathetic America”

“GM must die! Go to hell, GM!”

“I will never ever buy a car manufactured by GM.”

Also the pages of other GM brands have recieved comments from Saab fans, like the pages of Buick and GMC.

Here are some of the recent images posted on GM’s wall on Facebook:

Saab images

GM hasn’t posted anything on its page for four days and seems to be staying out of the current “occupy GM” activity from Saab users. At least GM has not removed any of the negative comments, yet. We’ll see how much nastiness GM will tolerate.

Via SVT.se.

Nissan in new Australian social media backlash

Yesterday we heard about the Qantas Twitter competition that failed – the so-called “epic PR fail” where angry customers kidnapped the hashtag #qantasluxury with nasty comments. Today we hear of yet another Australian social media campaign that didn’t end the way the company anticipated. Nissan Australia launched a Facebook competition called “Micraspotting”  in which you could win a a $1250 voucher or a grand prize, which was a brand new car worth $20,000.

The problem was that the person that won the car was a good friend of the Nissan employee who ran the Facebook competition (calling him his BFF, best friend forever, on his blog). The $1250 voucher was also awarded to a person who is a Facebook friend of the same Nissan employee. Nissan was honest about the connection when they announced the winner and said, “The reality is that he won fair and square and all is fully above board.”

That didn’t stop consumers from saying that the competition was rigged and posting angry comments to the Facebook walls of Nissan Australia and Nissan Micra Australia.

Nissan Australia Facebook Micraspotting

People are really angry and Nissan aren’t responding very well to the comments. Almost no communication at all from the company to the Facebook fury. Instead, what do they do? Launch another competition! Do you think that competition is recieved well? No, of course not.

Nissan Australia competition

What Nissan should do is take a step back, withdraw plans for any new competitions and handle the reactions from angry fans before launching a new PR stunt. Not well done.

Update: See Nissans’ response in the comments.