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Facebook Called. One of our employees was on a hate speech group...

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by MollyCurry, Sep 4, 2018.

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  1. MollyCurry

    MollyCurry
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    I got a call from a colleague who is the marketing director of a large group and he said he got a call from both Facebook and Twitter stating that one of the dealer's employees was spouting hate speech on their platforms and that the person has been removed.

    My friend removed the employee from their social sites, but the threads were already out. He said the owner wanted to immediately make a statement online. My friend was resistant.

    What say you, dealers?

    I sent out several emails to some social media vendors and only one responded with "we have not been in this situation." There are a lot of obvious serious legal and HR issues here (social media policies, training, HR, etc.), but what about the marketing side of things?

    Not saying anything might look like the dealer condones (or is ignoring) the speech. Saying something might bring light to a subject that the buying public might not be paying attention to.
     
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  3. Alex Snyder

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    My first thought is why would Facebook and Twitter try to get someone fired :thinker:

    My second thought is :321: to both of you politically biased places.

    My third thought is "OMG, I hope I never have to deal with this."

    My fourth thought is still forming.

    My overall thought is I am super torn in these situations. On the one hand I recognize the association people can make between an organization and it's employees, but on the other I believe that free speech is the greatest of freedoms that must be preserved.
     
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  4. Stauning

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    Well, my first thought is I'm hopeful the group has a strong policy against any speech or actions that defame the dealership.

    If that's the case, and the employee did so with some connection to the dealership (like posting in his/her uniform, posting from the dealership, using the dealership in the background of any of his/her other postings, identifying their place of employment), then the policy should dictate what happens to the employee.

    If they don't have such a policy, all I can say is "It's 2018! What the heck are they waiting for?!"

    I believe in protecting all speech (especially the speech that I despise) from government intrusion/censorship. However, I also believe in protecting a business's right to control the speech associated with their business. Just as we would fire an employee who posted fake prices/terms/conditions about the inventory (because these violate laws), we should also fire those who (against a written policy) somehow diminish a dealer's standing in their community.

    My second thought is that the dealership/group should say nothing public unless/until this goes public. Then, they should act in accordance with their policy. Make ONE statement and move on. These things blow over when you let them, as the public loses interest very quickly.

    A week after the incident seems to have blown over (if it goes public), the dealership should OWN TV and Radio in their market with their message of being a no-hassle, hometown, friendly dealer (or whatever their marketing message has been); drop a few prices to below cost and sell your way out of this.

    My guess is they're looking at a month (at most) of pain if this goes public - regardless of what they do with the employee.
     
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  5. Alexander Lau

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    I'm not so sure Facebook and Twitter make phone calls. Doesn't sound like part of their protocol.
     
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  6. Rick Buffkin

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    @Alexander Lau@Alexander Lau, You've got a good point there!!!
     
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  7. MollyCurry

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    Yes, i checked with my dealer friend. They found out about the employee''s hate speech participation from someone else who was on Facebook. Facebook took down the post. Facebook did not call the dealer. Thanks for helping me create clarity. But is this situation an anomaly? Should a dealer prepare for such a situation? If they haven't, what should they do is, I think, an important question.
     
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  8. Alexander Lau

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    It's probably a lot more common than most companies would like to believe. I wouldn't call it an anomaly. There are various pre-existing products / mechanisms which allow companies (dealers) to track the online behavior of their employees. Most smart companies have clauses written into their employee contracts that restrict them from heinous comments. Reputation management products can be morphed to screen such communication.
     
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  9. craigh

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    This is such a deep and complicated conversation.
    I think it used to be much more cut and dry, but the definition/usage of "hate speech" has changed so much recently.

    I'm not a big fan of people losing their livelihood over something they said once, but if someone joins a group and shows a pattern of legitimate hate, then action should be taken if it's going to negatively impact the dealer's reputation.
     
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  10. MollyCurry

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    So true, craigh. Things can get complicated in a hurry. Better have a plan! In doing my research on this highly charged situation (disgruntled employees, offensive employee behavior away from work, etc.), here is what I've learned: 1) companies need clear guidelines in their employee handbook regarding an employee's behavior during working and non-working hours (I recall handbook language along the lines of: "you represent the company both while at work and away....") 2) these policies need to be clearly communicated to the employees and signed off on; 3) in the event of and before an incident, consult with both your HR and legal teams to reduce risk and liability and to insure safety of employees 4) develop and implement a value statement that also provides customer feedback (which is an easy thing to include in your marketing and advertising today);here's Sonic's: https://www.sonicautomotive.com/our-culture-and-values.htm 5) if you have a social media or rep man vendor can they provide support 6) Keep a reputable PR company in your contact list in case the whole thing gets out of control 7) I wonder if some insurance policies cover loss of business 8) Some companies monitor their employee's social media activity; and, finally I like the idea of dealers' posting their community contributions either on a blog or on their website. This is a testament to a dealer's commitment to their customers and employees, past, present and future. This dealer does it right: https://www.brownscar.com/blog/index.htm. Thanks for reading this long response.
     
  11. john.quinn

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    Free Speech and Zero Consequences are quite a different animal.

    The Constitution mandates that citizens are protected against government prosecution for expressing their opinions, views, etc.

    The constitution does not protect the privilege of employment when words/speech reflect poorly or possibly damage the employer, although many will reflexively run to the "Free Speech" argument.

    Further -- publishing your "hate speech;" effectively signing your name to the public record on the given topic; moves your thoughts from "personal opinion" to "public stance," for which you need to be prepared to pay the piper.
     
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