We decided not to support Facebook. This is why

At Brutal Pixie we no longer provide support for the Facebook social network. We decided it’s not a good cultural fit for us. When we communicated this to our customers, we received nothing but support.

This is what happens when your decisions are values-​driven.

This is a logo of Facebook crossed out.
Bye bye, Facebook.

Huh? Facebook? Cultural fit?

You might be wondering, How can a social network be any sort of cultural fit? 

If you have worked with Brutal Pixie, you’ll know we work hard to align your company values to your messaging. By ‘messaging’ we mean everything from what you say to where you say it.

When you have a strong sense of the values and culture of your business, it allows you to make effective decisions about what is important. Your values guide your decisions about the channels you are in, the methods you use, the words you choose. It can also help you to decide what you will support, and be able to express why.

You have to play to your strengths

We do not specialise in social media — hundreds of other people do that. They are, in fact, a dime a dozen. Marketers do it. Social media people do it. SEO people do it. They are at every networking event, every meet up. Every business is told OMG SOCIAL MEDIA everywhere they turn.

Unfortunately, ‘social media’ to people means ‘Facebook’ most of the time. There are a vast number of social networks, and they all have their own audiences, purposes, and formats.

Brutal Pixie is a content strategy firm. No, we are not marketers. No, we are not content marketers. No, we don’t do your social media. What we do is help you to work out whether you need what all those people are telling you.

We come in and ask, Is it a good fit for you? Is it where your customers are? Can you support it? Do you have the people, workflows, and automation in place? Can you govern it? Can you conclusively say that your messaging is consistent in all of those places, if you already have them?

Here are some things people said:

Good on you!”

This is great. You know my skepticism about social media anyway.”

Good on you guys! Great conviction and I really enjoyed reading your reasons. I am also pleased that, even though you won’t be doing it, you are happy to point people in the direction of those that may be able to assist them. This is a sign of greatness and empathetic acquiescence.”

Colour me surprised! Support was one thing that we did not expect. It’s an extremely good lesson, however. When you work from a value-​oriented perspective, people will support you. Even if your decision is not a popular one.

Business has not been negatively affected

When you remove a channel, you worry that your business will be negatively affected. Ours hasn’t been. Referrals still come through, people still connect with us, it’s business as usual.

The only difference is that we now have more time for things that support our vision and direction. And the relationship that we already had have gotten stronger.

Part of the reason for this is that our action says: No, we won’t do things that our values do not support. Yes, we will fight for what we think is right. 

It also says, This is our decision, and we will still help you with whatever your decision is.

It’s vital to remember you cannot impose your direction on other people. What you can do is help them find someone suitable.

Here is the full text of what we sent to people

Dear Client,

Brutal Pixie will no longer provide support for the Facebook social network, effective 1 October 2014. Facebook is not a good cultural fit for us.

We understand that many people expect that a content strategy organisation will include social media. We are happy to refer you to specialists in the field, will consult on frameworks, and will project manage your social media channels.

The thing we are moving away from is hands-​on content posting, review, interaction, or support.

It important for us to tell you that we are removing Facebook immediately because it is not a good cultural fit for us.

At Brutal Pixie, we pride ourselves on upholding some key cultural values. Of most relevance here are:

  • Be Accountable
  • Communicate
  • Live Well

As a business, Facebook runs against the grain for us. Here are our top reasons why.

  1. As a company, its handling of private data is an issue that has been of reportable concern since 2011. It is still a problem, having most recently peaked with its newish messenger application
  2. Facebook ran emotional contagion experiments on the public, without transparency or overt consent, for a project that was funded by more than one study for the USA military
  3. Facebook is a vehicle that enables increasingly authoritarian regimes to abuse human rights more easily
  4. The network is not completely transparent about the “service providers” to which it gives your information, and which may be used to “conduct and publish research”. Their data use policy is here.

Facebook does not default to transparency; it is not completely accountable. The company communicates poorly. On the people side, the negative impacts of the network on people’s lives are significant enough to warrantdetailed studies.

Living well, to us, is about being supported, connected, communicating well, enjoying life. This also means being non-​violent. We do not support military actions of any kind, or human rights abuses in whatever form they take. It is a principle that we feel is vital to uphold.

The decision to remove this B2B service is not one we have taken lightly. Therefore, I encourage you to call me and chat if you have any concerns or queries. I can be reached on 0421 925 382.

We’d love to hear what you think. Tell us in a comment!

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