A market researcher joined Facebook last year to perform a “very unusual role.” After spending three years in Google helping advertisers perfect their marketing campaigns, Tavis McGinn expected something similar at Facebook. But things took a turn during his interview when the recruiter asked him if he’d like to monitor the public perception of Mark Zuckerberg, reports the Verge.
This doesn’t really come as much of a shock to us because of late, Facebook has been in muddy waters. In 2016, during the US presidential elections, Facebook had downplayed the role of fake news that had contributed to the victory of Donald Trump. They later acknowledged that groups linked with Russia had spent a lot of money on advertising on politics. McGinn’s job will involve leading a poll operation that keeps a track of changes to Zuckerberg’s public image.
“It was a very unusual role,” McGinn told The Verge. “It was my job to do surveys and focus groups globally to understand why people like Mark Zuckerberg, whether they think they can trust him, and whether they’ve even heard of him. That’s especially important outside of the United States.”
According to McGinn, it is a “very advanced research.” Facebook’s understanding of Zuckerberg’s reputation is not going to be limited to “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down.”
“If Mark gives a speech and he’s talking about immigration and universal health care and access to equal education, it’s looking at all the different topics that Mark mentions and seeing what resonates with different audiences in the United States,” added McGinn.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
According to The Verge, the social networking giant had also done research for its chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg. While it is unusual for a company to hire someone just to monitor public image of a CEO, several companies conduct surveys to find out the brand’s public image.
Facebook did not comment on McGinn’s role but the company’s spokesman told The Verge that the polls were not intended to influence Facebook products or policies.