Teresa Ovalle

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David vs. Goliath

on March 1, 2014

We all know the story of David and Goliath; a young boy destroys a menacing ogre with a sling and a stone.  The short story I am about to tell is similar, but it entails one internationally know author, Salman Rushdie (David), and Facebook (Goliath).

One weekend, Facebook decided to cancel Rushdie’s account without his knowledge.  Rushdie contacted Facebook to request that his account be reinstated.  Facebook wanted proof that Salman Rushdie was in fact Ahmed Salman Rushdie.  Once Rushdie proved he was himself, Facebook denied Rushdie the use of his middle name Salman on his account and forced Rushdie to use his first name Ahmed instead.  Rushdie had always used his middle name, as many people do, but Facebook would not allow it.  Facebook did not respond to Rushdie’s requests.

Rushdie picked up his sling (media device) and swung his stone (Twitter with his 114 thousand followers) at the far-reaching, ever-powerful Facebook.  Within two hours, Rushdie’s Facebook account, with his middle name, was reinstated.  Within one more hour, Facebook had issued an official apology.  The end.

Although Facebook did not die, this gaffe will certainly not be remembered well by Facebook.  This story does illustrate how quickly something so seemingly simple and inconvenient for one person can quickly escalate for another person – in this case Facebook.  Rushdie took it into his hands to fix a problem Facebook was not willing to acknowledge or discuss.  His sling and stone won the day.

I can only imagine the tools that Facebook must have in its arsenal to help monitor all of the social media platforms.  So when it denied Rushdie the use of his middle name, Facebook most likely thought nothing of it.  After all, it’s policy.  But as soon as Rushdie tweeted to his followers, Facebook noticed.  They noticed quickly, they granted Rushdie his request, and they officially apologized – all within three hours.  Facebook was definitely using their listening strategy, as well as their social media monitoring tools.

To see Rushdie’s 8 tweets that caused Facebook to cave, please click on the second reference link below.



How Salman Rushdie Used Twitter to Defeat Facebook


Salman Rushdie’s Twitter Tale Takes On Facebook


Four Steps To Create a Social Listening Strategy: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/4-steps-to-create-a-social-listening-strategy/

Social Media Monitoring Playbook – marketingcloudsocialmediamonitoringebook-130110135640-phpapp01.pdf