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Facebook is a 'textbook case study on how not to handle a crisis,' NYU professor says

  • New York University professor of marketing Scott Galloway argues Facebook's handling of the Cambridge Analytica fallout is all wrong.
  • He has some advice for Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg: address, acknowledge and overcorrect.

Facebook is handling the Cambridge Analytica public relations disaster all wrong, according to New York University professor of marketing Scott Galloway. And Galloway has some advice for CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg: address, acknowledge and overcorrect.

"When you're the CEO of a company that assembled a community as vast as Christianity ... you have an obligation to immediately address the issue," Galloway said on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"We're in the midst of the textbook case study on how not to handle a crisis," he added.

A day ahead of the bombshell reports by The New York Times and The Guardian's Observer about Facebook's involvement with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook issued a statement detailing why it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories and Cambridge Analytica from the platform. On Saturday, it revised the post to include an assertion that the situation did not constitute a data leak.

Aside from those efforts, which did not pan out terribly well, Zuckerberg and Sandberg have been relatively silent in the aftermath of the revelations. They reportedly plan to remain silent until the social media company completes its internal review of what happened.

"It appears Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg have retreated," Galloway said. "Where the heck are they?"

Galloway advises Facebook executives to jump in and own the crisis. First, "top guy or gal has to address the issue," then they must acknowledge the issue — just saying it wasn't a breach isn't enough, Galloway said.

Lastly, they must overcorrect.

"There's been absolutely no indication that they are willing to do anything about this," he said.

Despite a spate of recent controversies, including revelations that Russian trolls used Facebook to sow discontent, Galloway doesn't think users will turn away from the platform altogether.

"I don't believe this will be a consumer-led revolution," he said. "When people are outraged, they turn to Facebook and Twitter to vent."