PRCA Ethics Council Speaks Out on Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Exposé

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The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) Ethics Council highly commends journalism by The Wall Street Journal this week, in exposing what its technology reporter Jeff Horowitz documented as “a secret elite that’s exempt” from Facebook’s “standards of behavior,” in which “Facebook has misled the public and its own Oversight Board, a body that Facebook created to ensure the accountability of the company’s enforcement systems.”
 
This #PRethics Month, the PRCA Ethics Council urges stronger accountability against unfair, undisclosed and egregiously flawed information-gatekeeping practices, particularly by operators of global social media companies that double as de facto news channels for billions of people worldwide.
 
The PRCA Professional Charter calls upon the industry to exercise “proper regard to the public interest” in all professional activities as well as “a positive duty at all times to respect the truth and…not disseminate false or misleading information knowingly or recklessly, and to use proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently.”
 
PRCA Director General Francis Ingham MPRCA said:
 
“For more than a decade, and alongside other key social media platforms, Facebook has assumed nothing short of ‘public-utility’ status as a source of information for citizens across the globe.
 
“Today’s report in The Wall Street Journal lays bare disturbing revelations that the entirety of the public relations and communications industry must consider, in how we engage and make use of these platforms for institutional and client communications and relationship-building efforts.
 
“When a platform of Facebook’s prominence is revealed not only to be a regular disseminator of unmitigated disinformation but also a culprit of systemic rule-breaking of its own compliance standards – alongside egregious non-disclosures and non-transparency – then we in public relations should take notice and factor these realities into how our clients and employers are counselled.
 
“The global public relations industry must foster trust with all stakeholders, predicated on truthful, accurate information, as well as a standard of care that our messages and modes of communication are honourable and accountable.”

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