A follow-up piece that I first published on LinkedIn in November 2015 is below. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cyberbullying-tech-companies-leadership-gap-craig-bida?trk=pulse_spock-articles
Unfortunately, tech companies haven’t been showing the kind of next-level leadership that’s required to address an epidemic that’s impacting millions—especially young people. Sure, some tech companies are taking some action, and you can certainly find information on social media platforms about what to do if you're experiencing issues online. But this reactive, too-little-too-late approach is not the same as making transformative and proactive public commitments to raise awareness, create tools, and equip young people to navigate this unfortunate aspect of our rapidly evolving digital landscape.
From a branding perspective, we know that taking on social issues, solving problems, and having a positive impact helps make brands stronger and increases brand loyalty. Where brands get into trouble is when they are seen as materially contributing to a problem, profiting from it, and not doing much to solve it. Through this lens, to protect and grow brand value, tech companies must acknowledge the issue of cyberbullying more directly, and harness their creativity and resources to help solve this pervasive and destructive problem.
Tech companies unfortunately seem a little head-in-the-sand stuck, reluctant to tackle an issue that’s materially linked to their business models, and that their products and services directly enable. More high-profile and impactful efforts are coming from companies in sectors other than tech: They're doing way more to leverage the full power of their brands to take a public stand. Tech companies could learn a thing or two from looking at more visible and proactive antibullying efforts being championed by consumer brands—things like MTV’s a “A Thin Line” campaign, Hollister’s “All Equal” initiative, Secret’s “Mean Stinks”platform, and Coke’s expanding global efforts to raise awareness about bullying as a part of its “Open Happiness” campaign.
More of my thoughts on cyberbullying, the changing digital landscape, and the role companies must play in this are in a recent article in the Guardian by Joanna Goodman: "Meeting the Digital Challenges of Growing Up in Public."