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PR Crisis Management Like a Pro

Posted by Rachael Gamlin on Oct 20, 2014 9:37:00 AM

What do you do when your company gets caught up in a snafu? Don’t react like the heads of


The site, which stored Snapchats in its database, was supposedly hacked and thousands of private Snapchats were released to the public. The company itself was (it shut down) super sketchy, as it infringed on the privacy rights of thousands of Snapchat users, unbeknownst to them. The website allowed users to log into their Snapchats on their website, thus providing the site the ability to save opened Snaps into individual accounts online. Basically think of it as a library for all the snaps you’ve ever opened...a huge library full of weird selfies from your friends...yeah. The worst part is that the site never notified the users sending the Snaps, so although you yourself may have never used the program, one of your friends that you sent images to might have.




Although the owners of the site have been oddly quiet, there’s a lot we can learn from the crisis itself and how the former company has been handling it. Here are some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to taking care of crises.


  • Do what your mother always told you and apologize. I’ll give it to, they did follow the #1 crisis management rule and said they’re sorry from their Facebook account. However, they should be doing more. If you are ever caught in a PR crisis, the head of your business should be going to media outlets and handing out apologizes like candy (but make sure your admission of guilt is followed up by some type of visible action, which leads into the next point...).

  • Make sure you’re not just all talk and no action. You must do something to appease your clients and alleviate the harm caused. As far as, in their Facebook post, they claimed that once they had knowledge of the “breach,” they closed down their site. This is a good start, but as with the first point, they need to go a step further. Continuing Facebook updates about what they are doing to try to fix the problem would help, but pressing legal actions or working with law enforcement agencies would be even better. Do all you can to work on the issues that have arisen in your company and consistently communicate your progress with clients. To maintain your brand’s character, you must keep your customers and clients at ease.

  • Don’t place the blame on others, especially when your reputation is already in serious jeopardy. In its Facebook post, states that their site was hacked and the saved photos were never purposely released to the public. However, one involved user claims that the Snapchats had been leaked by the administrator of the site and were not obtained through hacking. Since the credibility of the company is already in question, those working at the former site need to do more damage control to improve their image, and this does not including blaming others. Be sure to take full responsibility for the crises that your business endures, as it will make your brand seem more trustable. No matter how big or small the problem, never lay the blame on others.

  • Make it clear there are people in charge of handling the issue. isn’t being very helpful to former customers, as it isn’t clear who is in control of the situation, if anyone at all. It appears like now that they’ve closed up shop on their website, no one is working on containing this crisis. It is crucial to always have someone publicly handling and acknowledging these issues to let customers know work is being done to improve the dilemma. You must show your clients that someone is in charge of containing the situation.

Although is no longer a company, we can learn lots from how they’re handling this unraveling problem. When you’re modeling your PR crisis management plan, be sure to forego taking a page out of’s book.

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photo credit: William Hook via photopin cc

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