Tech giants face antitrust action, social media retains allure despite ‘fake news,’ and top tactics to elevate your brand

Also: Alabama dean resigns amid Twitter furor, T-Mobile vows to investigate purported overcharges, and Burger King’s ‘Escape the clown’ campaign.

Good Morning PR pros:

The U.S. jobs numbers for August are out—and the signs aren’t promising for the economy.

August showed lackluster job creation with only 130,000 jobs added. It’s not the worst month for 2019—both May and February were worse—but the trend troubles many market prognosticators.

How can communicators prepare for a market downturn? And how is your agency or organization preparing for tough times should they come next year?

Share your thoughts with the hashtag #MorningScoop.

Here are today’s stories:

Google, Facebook face antitrust inquiry

The big tech companies face investigations from states including New York as government continues to grapple with how to monitor and regulate these giant organizations.

Business Insider reported:

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Google was to be the subject of an antitrust investigation by “more than half” of the state attorneys general.

According to The Journal, the Google investigation is expected to be officially announced Monday and will consist of roughly 36 state attorneys general led by Ken Paxton, a Texas Republican.

A second group led by Letitia James, New York’s Democratic attorney general, will investigate Facebook.

Why it matters: Google and Facebook had different responses to reports of the government action. Facebook declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal report. Google affirmed a previous statement that it would work “constructively” with lawmakers.

Google’s statement shows the company is ready and willing to follow the process to address concerns and follow the law. Facebook’s non-response is more open to interpretation.

Related reading:


MEASURED THOUGHTS

Users say they are unlikely to change their social media use habits because of “fake news.”

According to a recent study from The Manifest, many users say they believe they can recognize fake news when they see it and that they won’t stop getting their information from social media platforms anytime soon.

University of Alabama dean resigns over tweets

Dr. Jamie Riley, a dean at the University of Alabama, resigned over tweets that surfaced in a recent Breitbart article. The tweets dealt with race, racism and police practices. Riley is African American.

Al.com reported:

“Dr. Jamie Riley has resigned his position at The University of Alabama by mutual agreement. Neither party will have any further comments,” a spokeswoman for the university said in an email to AL.com.

The resignation has caused tensions to flare online as some see the dismissal of a black administrator from the southern university as racially motivated.

Why you should care: Your employees on social media are an extension of your organization’s presence in the community. Therefore, it is essential to have extensive training and education for employees about social media use, as well as an explicit and transparent policy for online infractions.

Know that there are people combing the internet for old comments and tweets you or a colleague might have made in anger. Perform a social media audit, and remove any content you don’t want out there.

Related reading:


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Burger King Deutschland pounced on the buzz around the second movie adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.” Tinkering with the campaign it used last year to target customers at its competitors with excessive discounts, the company introduced an app to offer burger fans 1-cent Whoppers if they would “escape the clown.”

The company has offered similar discounts before, but the partnership with the horror film is helping the marketing team pack an extra punch.

NYC sues T-Mobile over marketing practices

The city asserts that the mobile company, primarily through its subsidiary Metro, overcharged customers, sometimes signing them up for expensive payment plans without consent and even selling refurbished phones as brand new devices.

Engadget reported:

A spokesperson for T-Mobile told CNET, “What we are seeing alleged here is completely at odds with the integrity of our team and the commitment they have to taking care of our customers every day,” and claimed to be taking the allegations “very seriously.”

The scandal comes as T-Mobile is attempting to merge with Sprint, a move opposed by several states’ attorneys general, including New York’s Letitia James.

What you should know: T-Mobile’s crisis response hits the right tone, taking the allegations seriously while defending its record and employees’ integrity. It’s important to craft a holding statement in a crisis and offer a timeline for when stakeholders can expect to learn more. By promising to investigate on its own, T-Mobile can retake some control of the narrative.

Related reading:


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked what the best way was to get your products to stand out from the competition as many consumers report being open to try new products.

The top choice was having a fun and exciting brand. A good price followed closely behind.


SOUNDING BOARD

Is there a campaign or response that impressed you this week? Share your nominations, and we will include the best of the pack in our #MorningScoop next week!

 

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