Facebook Inc. supports its social media business through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that address stakeholders’ interests and concerns. In Archie Carroll’s theory, businesses affect stakeholders, and vice versa. In the case of Facebook, stakeholders are highly varied, especially because of the company’s global reach. As the largest social media business in the global market, the firm affects more than a billion online users as stakeholders. It is of critical importance for Facebook Inc. to ensure that its corporate social responsibility programs and policies are satisfactory in addressing all stakeholders’ concerns. Doing so creates a business condition that supports customer loyalty and Facebook’s competitive advantage.
A stakeholder analysis of Facebook Inc. underscores the significance of comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs and policies. A strategy that addresses this need satisfies stakeholders’ concerns while also supporting Facebook’s business strategic objectives in the global online social media market.
Facebook’s Stakeholder Groups & CSR Initiatives
Facebook’s social media business affects stakeholders around the world. This situation requires global standards for the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives to satisfy stakeholders’ interests. Facebook Inc. has the following stakeholder groups, arranged according to importance in its CSR strategy:
- Users/Members (most important)
Users/Members. Facebook’s online social media service has more than 1.6 billion monthly active users. These users or members of the social network are the stakeholder group that receives the company’s top prioritization. Users are significant because they determine the popularity and attractiveness of Facebook’s display advertising service. Advertisers are more likely to pay for such service as the online social network gains more users or members. As stakeholders, users are interested in the ease of using the firm’s social media services and privacy of personal information. Facebook continues to improve its social networking website and mobile apps to make it easier for users to set the privacy of their accounts. Moreover, the company is the primary participant in the launch of Internet.org in 2013, which aims to make Facebook.com and other online resources more accessible in the developing world. Thus, Facebook Inc.’s corporate social responsibility strategy satisfies the main interests of users or members as stakeholders.
Advertisers. Advertisers are the chief source of Facebook’s income. Thus, this stakeholder group is significant because it influences the company’s revenues. The interests of these stakeholders include effective and efficient advertising service, as well as accurate data from Facebook. In its corporate social responsibility efforts, Facebook Inc. addresses these interests through automated reporting to minimize human intervention in the advertising processes. Also, the company provides a variety of options for advertisers to target specific audiences on the online social network to maximize the benefits of the advertising service. Therefore, Facebook’s corporate social responsibility strategy addresses the interests of this stakeholder group.
Employees. Facebook Inc. values employees in terms of their contributions to the social media business. These stakeholders are significant in affecting the company’s evolution, especially in developing and improving products. The interests of employees include high compensation and career development. Facebook’s corporate social responsibility programs directly address these interests through competitive human resource policies. For example, the company gives some of the highest salaries in the industry, especially as a way of attracting talent while competing against firms like Google in the labor market. Such efforts show that Facebook Inc. satisfies corporate social responsibilities in considering the interests of employees as a major stakeholder group.
Governments. Governments are significant stakeholders because they impose requirements on Facebook’s social media business. This influence keeps the company in compliance with governmental policies and interests, which include regulatory compliance. Facebook’s corporate social responsibility strategy involves negotiations and partnerships with governments to show support for governmental efforts and programs. In the case of China, for example, the company continues to participate in education programs to convince the government to open the market to Facebook’s online social network.
Communities. Facebook Inc. gives the least priority to communities as a stakeholder group. These stakeholders significantly affect the company by influencing the perception of users/members and advertisers. Communities are interested in developmental support from companies. Facebook addresses such interests through Internet.org, which was launched in 2013 as a way to increase online access in developing countries. However, critics argue that Internet.org violates net neutrality and is just another way to promote the company’s online social network over competitors. Also, the company has a limited Ph.D. fellowship program to allow students to work with Facebook, and for the firm to find new hires. These efforts show that Facebook Inc.’s corporate social responsibility strategy is weak in satisfying the interests of communities as a stakeholder group.
Facebook Inc.’s CSR Performance in Addressing Stakeholders’ Interests
As the leading social media company, Facebook Inc. has corporate social responsibility policies and programs that satisfy the interests of some of its major stakeholders. For instance, the interests of users/members, advertisers, employees, and governments are satisfied. These programs partly support public relations in Facebook Inc.’s marketing mix. However, Facebook’s CSR strategy neglects to provide satisfactory support for the interests of communities as stakeholders. Facebook Inc., together with other firms, launched Internet.org, but this effort is criticized as a violation of net neutrality and as having hidden proprietary motives. Thus, it is recommended that Facebook Inc. must enhance its corporate social responsibility initiatives to satisfy the concerns of communities, especially through sustainability and community development programs, which are two of the firm’s corporate social responsibilities.
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