You won’t find us on Facebook.


Goodbye Facebook! The Standish Group has deleted our account and will no longer post items there.  We thought long and hard about taking this action as we learned more and more about how Cambridge Analytica and other Facebook third parties were using our data. The last straw was when both Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg claimed they did not know how this happened and were also ignorant about the subsequent cover-up. Ellen Hancock, who served as CTO for Apple Computer and spent 30 years in management at IBM’s Communication Products division, suggested on that we think about Facebook in the light of other companies that have experienced problems or scandals. The first question is always “Did the CEO know?” In some cases, perhaps not—but regardless, the CEO was in charge. Not knowing is not an excuse. The CEO—and the COO—are the commanders of the ship and must take responsibility for what happens on their watch.

Hancock went on to say that it is the responsibility of the executives to ask the right questions. As an executive, you cannot say “I didn’t know” when something goes wrong. The comeback is, why didn’t you know? You are the CEO. That means you have the responsibility to ask the right questions. You’re expected to understand and monitor the ethos of your organization. It’s a culture issue, not a management issue and, as has been said, a fish rots from the head down. Wex International’s George Hogan suggests, in another pm2go blog, that executives are responsible for creating and maintaining a culture of trust, honor, and ethics. This creates user trust. 

The right question for me is “Do I have confidence that Zuckerberg and Sandberg will do the right thing to protect their users and their data?”  To be more specific, does Facebook, the organization, have the will to make changes that protect the data of their users?  The answer is—I’m not confident that they do.  The United States government, on the other hand, does have the ability to protect users from this type of abuse.  Europe, with the GDPR, is leading the way, and I call on US government leaders to do the same. 

The Standish Group is, of course, not concerned about loss or leakage of the information we provide, since most of our public posts are duplicated on Tweeter and Linkedin.  However, Facebook is capable of reaching beyond our information into the information and data of our contacts. Therefore, just being on Facebook exposes our customers, friends, family and general contacts to the company’s bad behavior. It would be irresponsible for us to continue using Facebook. To Facebook we say goodbye. And to you, we say—don’t find us on Facebook. 

By Jim Johnson



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Subject Matter

General Interest

About the Author:


Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson is a professor at the Antwerp Management School and the founder and chairman of The Standish Group. He has been professionally involved in the computer industry for over 40 years and has a long list of published books, papers, articles and speeches. He has a combination of technical, marketing, and research achievements focused on mission-critical applications and technology. He is best known for his research on project performance and early recognizing technology trends. Jim is a pioneer of modern research techniques and continues to advance in the research industry through case-based analytical technology.

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