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Tech companies are canceling job postings, Amber Heard on the power of social media and Americans’ views on cancel culture

Hello, communicators:

A University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologist is using Justin Bieber’s recent diagnosis to educate Twitter users about Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.

Katrine Wallace, Doctor of Epidemiology at UIC, explained why Bieber’s diagnosis is unlikely to be a side effect of a vaccine:

“The varicella virus [which causes chickenpox] remains dormant in the nerves after an infection,” she wrote. “*Any* immune system stress can cause the virus to reawaken and a case of shingles. So, to be clear: shingles (and Ramsay Hunt) is caused by the varicella virus, not a vaccine.

This is a good example of using soft newsjacking to educate and inform, rather than to promote a branded person or product.

Here are today’s other top stories:

Amber Heard’s addresses power of social media in defamation lawsuit

Actress Amber Heard acknowledges the powerful social media PR strategy that Johnny Depp’s team implemented during the former couple’s libel trial.

In an interview with NBC’s Samantha Guthrie, a preview of which aired earlier this week, Heard addressed the social media hubbub surrounding the lawsuit, calling it “unfair.”

“…even someone who’s sure I deserve all this hate and vitriol, even if you think I’m lying, you still can’t look me in the eye and tell me what you think on social media , there was fair representation,” she said. “You can’t tell me you think it was fair.”

Why is this important: Social media is a powerful tool – not one to be discarded when it comes to winning in the court of public opinion.

“With millions of fans on every continent in place, including organized fan clubs and social media groups, there was an army of people excited and ready to defend Depp no ​​matter what,” writes Allison Carter of PR Daily. “All his team had to do was reach out to the gatekeepers in these groups with classic PR tactics.”


A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that more than half of Americans think posting offensive messages on social media is likely to hold people accountable for what they say.

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Fifty-one percent of American adults said that “when people call out others on social media for posting content that could be considered offensive, they are more likely to hold people accountable for their actions.”

Although this number is down from 2020 (58%), the 2022 number still represents a large swath of Americans. This means more than half of American adults are likely to feel comfortable calling out brands for social media missteps – so PR professionals need to remember to be careful and inclusive with their social media posts.

Tech companies are starting to cancel job offers

The cryptocurrency exchange’s chief operating officer, Emilie Choi, said last month that the company would slow down hiring – and two weeks later, human resources director LJ Brock said wrote in a blog post that Coinbase would rescind some accepted job offers.

HR Brew reports that Twitter and Redfin have also started canceling deals in recent months, “in a phenomenon that seems to be becoming increasingly common in the current tech industry climate.”

It’s a bit of a public relations problem.

“Companies live and die by how people perceive them,” Christopher Cathcart, a public relations professor at California State University, told HR Brew. “If there is the impression that [companies] have not been honest or have not acted with a high level of integrity, in particular [with] something as sensitive as hiring…it can have a ripple effect on how people perceive them broadly in relation to their brand and impact their ability to sell products and deliver and offer services.

Why is this important: Employer branding is PR, period. Gone are the days of mistreating employees or afterthoughts – if your company wants to stay right with its public and stakeholders, it’s important to consider the ramifications of unpopular moves like job cancellations .