The Lincoln Project Exposed; Censorship on Social Media; Bye, Aunt Jemima!

This week, The Business Communicators tackle the biggest headlines in the PR, branding and digital media world. The show begins by analyzing the downfall of The Lincoln Project, and Aunt Jemima’s rebranding, finally retiring the racist stereotype that has adorned its label for decades. Then, Austin, Hattie and Thomas weigh in on why Instagram banned Robert Kennedy Jr. from the platform, and the emergence of Clubhouse, the upstart $1 billion social media platform taking the world by storm.

First up, The Lincoln Project, a political Super PAC which raised more than $90 million ahead of the 2020 election, is under fire after co-founder John Weaver is alleged to have sexually harassed more than 20 men. What did the organization know and when? To make matters worse, it’s speculated that the organization hacked co-founder Jennifer Horn’s Twitter account last week after she stepped down from her role due to Weaver’s “grotesque and inappropriate behavior.” Can the organization be trusted moving forward, or are these communications and ethical failures the beginning of the end for the Super PAC?

Then, although reinventing the company was a long-time coming, will the new look and image of the Pearl Milling Company resonate with consumers that are used to the previous image and name that sustained Aunt Jemima for over 100 years; or once the new packaging is on retail shelves will customers say “yum” or “yuk”, and will it mean that the Pearl Milling Company might get flattened by the competition? 

Next up, the Kennedy name is powerful, and it is also synonymous with controversy. Instagram has shut down Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s account for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. With more than 800,000 followers on Kennedy’s account, Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced that it would flag or remove posts from users and groups that spread misinformation about vaccines. Spreading misinformation on social media is dangerous. Full stop. However, can are digital media companies taking censorship too far, and is their business model sustainable with a lack of moderation?

Closing out the show, if you are a social media enthusiast like us, you’re likely well-aware of Clubhouse, the invite-only social audio app, where everyone wants to be part of the club. Founded in March 2020 by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, Clubhouse boasts more than six million weekly users and boasts a value of over $1 billion. Buoyed currently by a host of A-list celebrities including Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey, Clubhouse’s exclusivity, candid conversations, and the opportunity to share the stage is what currently makes it so alluring. Although Davison and Seth say Clubhouse was created for everyone, can the app maintain its appeal to user once it’s open to all?

Published by Austin Staton

Austin currently works with the Communications and Advocacy team at bp, is the immediate past president for IABC Houston, and is the founder of two podcasts — The Business Communicators and The Weekly Brew.

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