Transparency In Social Media

Credit Card In Back Pocket

Never is transparency (in social media) more important than during times of crisis. The public can and does forgive mistakes. They understand that technology is not infallible.

What will destroy a business faster than just about anything though is not being 100% open, honest, and upfront immediately when something has gone wrong.

Watching Sony’s responses (in the news) to a serious breech of security to their PlayStation network shakes my confidence in the company as a whole.

Their initial silence to the network outage tells me they were more concerned about their image than notifying 77 million users IMMEDIATELY that their personal and credit card information may have been compromised.

Why did they wait so many days?

Why weren’t they reaching out to their users via social media outlets the very moment they realized there was a problem?

There’s a difference in timing between when we identified there was an intrusion and when we learned of consumers’ data being compromised. We learned there was an intrusion April 19th and subsequently shut the services down. We then brought in outside experts to help us learn how the intrusion occurred and to conduct an investigation to determine the nature and scope of the incident. It was necessary to conduct several days of forensic analysis, and it took our experts until yesterday to understand the scope of the breach. We then shared that information with our consumers and announced it publicly.” Sony Blog

If your credit card information might already be in the back pocket of some hacker, would you want to know now? Or, when the company was finished evaluating things?

I’m sorry Sony. You blew it. The biggest breach I see here is your neglect in practicing what consumers not only expect but demand – complete transparency.

J. Cricket Walker of


  1. KaiKai04-27-2011

    I’ve already had a call from the card attached to that specific account, and that’s the only place that it could have been compromised, so I’m pretty certain Sony HAVE lost credit card details. It’s still anecdotal at this point, but a concern for us as a family….
    I also think they hoped it would all quietly go away because many freinds speculated that they were hiding the extent of it until that announcement. To be honest, I only found out because my partner’s been paying a bit more attention than me, otherwise I thought it was ‘just an outage’. Which showed me two things – Sony needs an SM expert onside, and I need to watch mainstream channels more 😉

  2. Amy SueAmy Sue04-27-2011

    It’s so true. Everyone makes mistakes, but you’ve got to acknowledge them. Trying to hide mistakes just makes things worse in the end.

    • ZyahZyah06-30-2011

      Frankly I think that’s absluotely good stuff.

    • Akash KumarAkash Kumar09-12-2011

      Everyone makes mistakes but a company like SONY?? really strange.

  3. RonnieRonnie04-27-2011

    That’s just crazy. A company big as Sony doing that? Weird.

  4. CricketCricket04-27-2011

    Accountability makes all the difference!

  5. Stephen KingStephen King04-27-2011

    While I totally agree that transparency is important, as is speed in notification of breaches, I kinda understand Sony’s point here. Hackers are pretty good these days, and it takes some time for forensic analysis on a database that is as large as Sony’s must be. Is eight days stretching it? Probably, but I wouldn’t have expected it to have been done…done right, anyway…in two or three days. And I would expect a certain degree of correctness in Sony’s report; to just blast that everything got compromised could cause as much harm as not telling anybody. My own bank card got cancelled, though nobody tried to use it, and while I’m glad for the latter, it’s a pain in the tush having to re-do everything that was set up on the card. As an IT administrator and security guy, at least in my former job, myself, I applaud Sony taking the time to do some deliberate investigation.

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