United and Boeing turn to Twitter after flight crisis, Clubhouse takes heat on privacy, and Bay Area school board resigns over public WebEx call

Also: Disney+ adds content warning to episodes of ‘The Muppet Show,’ The New York Times shows COVID-19’s toll with a striking graph, Innocent Drinks gets real on Twitter, and more.

Hello, communicators:

If your Monday is starting off on a hectic note, Innocent Drinks’ tweet can provide some solace:

The simple social media effort highlights the power of being real on your brand’s social media profiles. Where appropriate—and when it fits with your brand’s voice—lean into emotions and experiences to which your fans can relate.

Here are today’s top stories: 

United, Boeing and the FAA turn to Twitter after flight crisis

On Saturday, an engine on a United Airlines flight from Denver to Honolulu caught fire shortly after takeoff, causing debris from the plane to fall in Broomfield, Colorado. There were no injuries reported on the ground and all 231 passengers on United Flight 328 were safe after an emergency landing roughly 25 minutes after takeoff.

Videos of the crisis quickly made the rounds on social media:

“Safety remains our highest priority,” United Airlines said in a Twitter thread announcing that it was temporarily removing 24 of its Boeing 777 aircraft from its fleet:

Steve Dickson, administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration, made the following statement:

Boeing also announced that it “recommended and support[ed]” grounding the 777 aircraft while an investigation continues:

Why it’s important: The recent incident is the latest crisis to affect a beleaguered Boeing, which is still grappling with the fallout from its 737 Max crisis in which 346 people died in two fatal plane crashes in 2019. However, unlike its previous crisis response, Boeing quickly released and tweeted its statement, looking to get ahead of the narrative and underline its commitment to work with investigators on the cause of the engine failure.


CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS

The board of trustees for Oakley Union Elementary School District resigned recently after they ridiculed parents during a WebEx call that was public—and recorded.

Bigad Shaban, senior investigative reporter for NBC Bay Area, reported that the members claimed parents “want their babysitters back” and want to continue using medical marijuana:

“It went viral, over 7,000 people signed a petition asking them to resign, and that’s exactly what they did,” The Verge reported.

In a letter to the school district’s families, former board members Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito and Richie Masadas—three of the four who resigned—issued a joint statement. It read, in part:

 We deeply regret the comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week. As trustees, we realize it is our responsibility to model the conduct that we expect of our students and staff, and it is our obligation to build confidence in District leadership; our comments failed you in both regards, and for this we offer our sincerest apology.


CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK

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MEASURED THOUGHTS

The New York Times’ Feb. 21 front page carried a chart with 500,000 data points—each representing a person in the United States who has died from COVID-19. This somber infographic shows the immense toll of the pandemic and evokes emotion—yet, it’s devoid of colors, graphics or additional charts.

In its Times Insider article titled, “On the front page, a wall of grief,” The New York Times reported:

For Bill Marsh, a print graphics coordinator who helped oversee the execution, the digital concept worked equally well in print. “The fact that we can create something with half a million dots that is visible and readable all in one piece, on one sheet of paper, that people can scan and ponder — it’s made for print, in a way,” he said. “It seems natural for the front page.”

… In an era filled with so many unknowns, Mr. Marsh said, “graphics can introduce a whole new way of understanding what’s happening.”

They can also speak to the gravity of our times as powerfully as words, Mr. Gamio said. “We’re in an extraordinary news moment,” he added, “and the visual language of the paper should reflect that.”

The effort serves as a reminder of those lost to COVID-19, but for communicators, serves to highlight an additional lesson of using data to elicit readers’ emotions—and powerfully tell your organization’s story.

Clubhouse scrutinized for privacy and security concerns

 Clubhouse is making headlines again, but this time, it’s for security concerns after reports surfaced that audio streams from the app’s rooms were uploaded to a third-party website.

 Bloomberg reported:

An unidentified user was able to stream Clubhouse audio feeds this weekend from “multiple rooms” into their own third-party website, said Reema Bahnasy, a spokeswoman for Clubhouse. While the company says it’s “permanently banned” that particular user and installed new “safeguards” to prevent a repeat, researchers contend the platform may not be in a position to make such promises.

The Verge reported:

This latest security incident comes a week after Clubhouse was criticized for vulnerabilities in its infrastructure. A report from the Stanford Internet Observatory found that users’ unique Clubhouse ID numbers and chatroom IDs were transmitted in plaintext, which could theoretically allow an outside observer to work out who’s talking to who on the app. Clubhouse also uses Shanghai-based Agora Inc, for its back-end infrastructure. As a Chinese company, Agora has a legal obligation to assist Chinese authorities in locating the source of audio if it’s deemed to pose a national security risk, the SIO said.

Concerns over Clubhouse’s privacy vulnerabilities and its policies have been growing among the app’s critics and those concerned with how their data is being used online.

 The Guardian’s John Naughton wrote:

[T]he hoopla tended to obscure some uncomfortable facts about Clubhouse. There’s the contact-uploading requirements mentioned earlier which, as one commentator put it, are not only “telling the app developer that you’re connected to those people, but you’re also telling it that those people are connected to you – which they might or might not have wanted the app to know. For example, say you have an ex or even a harasser you’ve tried to block from your life, but they still have your number in their phone; if they upload their contacts, Clubhouse will know you’re connected to them and make recommendations on that basis.”

Why it matters: The recent news won’t stop the popularity of the audio-only app that has gained favor with members including Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, and Fernando Machado, chief marketing officer for Burger King. A recent report revealed that more than 8.1 million people had downloaded Clubhouse so far, and that number is quickly growing.

However, security and privacy concerns highlight the necessity of adding Clubhouse to your organization’s social media policy. Decide how your organization’s executives and employees should use the app—if they should download it at all—and any codes of conduct while taking part in the conversations there. By taking a proactive approach, you can avoid a potential future crisis.


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TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Disney+ recently added Jim Henson’s “The Muppet Show” to its library, but the show—which originally ran from 1976 to 1981—now comes with an offensive content warning.

Los Angeles Times reported:

“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures,” the warning reads. “These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversations to create a more inclusive future together.”

… Each episode bears the 12-second disclaimer for a different reason, from Cash’s appearance singing in front of a Confederate flag to negative depictions of Native Americans, Middle Easterners and people from other cultures. Additionally, two episodes from the final season, featuring guest stars Brooke Shields and staff writer Chris Langham, are left out entirely.

The Walt Disney Company added similar disclaimers before classic films including “Peter Pan” and “Dumbo” when Disney+ launched, and highlights the need for organizations to acknowledge past actions and statements, instead of hiding or ignoring them. You can use past actions or content as teachable moments and work them into your DE&I goals and initiatives, too.


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked if your organization uses an internal style guide, and more than half of you (51.5%) have access to this resource in your organization, while roughly 33% of you use The AP Stylebook and 6% use another external style guide. About 9% of you don’t use any type of a reference for your press releases, newsroom alerts and other communications copy:

Is there question you’d like to see asked? Please let us know under the #DailyScoop hashtag!


SOUNDING BOARD

Are you on Clubhouse yet, PR Daily readers?

Weigh in below or on Twitter, under the hashtag #DailyScoop, and we’ll share your insights in tomorrow’s roundup.

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