CommCore Blog and News

There’s no true delete button for social media

When is deletion not deletion? On the Internet.
That famous TV psychologist Dr. Phil recently polled his Twitter followers to find out how they  felt about women consenting to sex while inebriated.

Immediately, Dr. Phil’s Twitter account was filled with angry backlash criticizing the tweet for perpetuating a rape culture by legitimizing the question.
Rather than acknowledge the angry criticism with an apology or explanation, Dr. Phil deleted the tweet from his feed and stayed silent.  That only enraged his critics, like Laura Hudson, further:
What began as a controversial  tweet turned into an escalating scandal, as news organizations like Washington Post and USA Today began covering the story, as well.
When a crisis such as Dr. Phil’s tweet occurs, we at CommCore suggest the following:
First, acknowledge the tweet, and the controversy surrounding it.  Dr. Phil should have known better than to try to delete it with no further engagement with his Twitter followers.  Thanks to screen grabs, tweets that cause controversy can never be truly deleted.  By trying to hide the tweet instead of acknowledging that he had unintentionally offended people Dr. Phil came across as cowardly and unapologetic.
Second, bridge to your message.  After acknowledging the problem, Dr. Phil had a great opportunity to explain why he posted the poll to begin with.  Dr. Phil’s brand is that he cares about people and wants to help them.  By failing to respond and acknowledge he came across to many as uncaring, insensitive, and not very social media savvy.