When Companies Get Swept Into the Facebook Mythology

You’ve probably heard by now that the SEC is considering a lawsuit against Netflix for a post it published on its Facebook page in June. CEO Reed Hastings shared that the video-streaming platform saw more than 1 billion streams the previous month, and as a result, its stock rose 6.2%.


The SEC is displeased. According to securities law, companies must share information in a “non-exclusionary method,” like in a press release or a newswire. The SEC wants all investors to have access to the same information—a fair point, if you ask me—and admonishes that Netflix did not file an 8-K or issue a press release in conjunction with the CEO’s status update.

This speaks to a broader problem with life in 2012, outside the micro world of video streaming and company profits: there is a pervasive atmosphere of over-share, promulgated by Facebook and his cousin Twitter, and companies and CEOs need to know where the line is. Perhaps, in fact, we all do.

The ease of sharing on Facebook and Twitter coincides with an overall loss of privacy—which, granted, we all give up easily and without thought, completely ignoring the battle for personal privacy that courts have fought on our behalf for decades—and with no one reminding us when to curtail that sharing, we keep on hitting those “like” and “comment” buttons.

Netflix isn’t the first company to throw some stats up on Facebook, and it certainly won’t be the last. But companies need to not buy into the Facebook mythology that the social network has successfully concocted and spun into all of our brains. We don’t have to share our thoughts on daily happenings, our commentary on sports and politics and our families. We, surprisingly, do not have to post photos of every gathering we go to with our friends.

Facebook has done an incredulous job as a brand, getting us to believe we must log on to feed off its life-giving energy and survive our daily routine.

Regardless, we’ve gotten used to sharing and liking and tweeting our pants off. So what happens when Netflix gets sued for getting caught with its pants down?