Reputation Crisis? Facebook meets Cambridge Analytica

Reputation Crisis? Facebook meets Cambridge Analytica

This MOOC is made by RSM and the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC); both are faculties of Erasmus University Rotterdam. It’s based on a business case study of the scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the British data analytics firm that harvested data from 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge or consent. The data was subsequently used to influence voter opinion in favour of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and before the UK’s EU membership referendum (the ‘Brexit’ vote).

In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook suffered a drop in its brand value, reputation, and levels of public trust. Paradoxically, its user base has continued to grow – as has its financial performance.

The MOOC traces Facebook’s ascent as a formidable tech player and its involvement with Cambridge Analytica. Participants in the MOOC study the academic concepts as they reflect on the paradoxes confronting Facebook. The MOOC brings together theory and practice and allows students to analyse Facebook’s actions and think critically what, if anything, should Facebook do to ‘future-proof’ its reputation. 

This MOOC covers:

  • Reputation management: what, why, and how – and data privacy as a reputation issue
  • The challenges of leadership in a multi-vocal digital landscape
  • Stakeholders exposing unethical business practices 
  • The dilemmas of balancing profit with purpose.

 

This MOOC is recommended for anyone studying communication or management, practitioners interested in crisis and reputation management, or anyone with an interest in case-based learning that aids the exploration of real-life business challenges. The course is taught in English and is presented in 6 modules. The final module – a capstone project – is assessed by peer review. Modules 1, 3, and 5 provide quizzes for learners to check on their progress. The approximate study time is 20 hours.

Participants explore the case from different angles of reputation and its key drivers, such as governance, leadership, corporate culture, whistleblowing, and citizenship, as well as reputation as a whole. The online course delivers learning materials in the form of videos, exercises, assignments, and participants work will be graded. 

Reputation Crisis? Facebook meets Cambridge Analytica is also available as a paper-based study that can be downloaded from the Case Development Centre’s online catalogue.