A brief history of apologies for internet companies

On the last day of 2020, because Guo Jingming and Yu Zheng successively apologized for plagiarism, netizens joked as "Apology Day".

When we thought that this was the end of the magical year, we did not expect that "apologies" would seem to be contagious and continue to occupy the hot search list in the new year.

Pinduoduo's "refuting the rumors" finally turned down and apologized after being known to "anti-refute the rumors."

After a sudden death of a takeaway, people discovered that the rider’s insurance premium was too tricky, so I apologized urgently when I was hungry.

Of course, there is also the cotton era where apology letters were written as self-praise letters, refreshing people's understanding of "apologies."

No one is wrong, everyone has apologized. It has long been common for companies to apologize for negative events, but some companies are unwilling to say "I'm sorry," and they have to force themselves to add drama.

▲ Picture from: "Hansawa Naoki 2"

In the Internet field that has attracted much attention in the past decade, many "apology ghosts" have also appeared. They used various unexpected gestures to turn apology into a large-scale performance scene, and their ability to interpret the self-cultivation of an actor.

I was wrong i was awesome

After being criticized by the public for an advertisement suspected of insulting women, the Cotton Era released a two-page "confession of apology."

However, in this letter of apology, except for the first two paragraphs, it expresses an unexpected surprise. Then I began a long review of the company's entrepreneurial history and various achievements, with pride between the lines, and it became a letter of praise to myself.

This has aroused even stronger resentment among netizens. Some people joked that the cotton era has created a new "genre of apology."

The memory of the Internet is really only 7 seconds. The "braggery apology" of the cotton era is actually not new. This is what Internet companies played many years ago.

You may also have an impression of the Wei Zexi incident a few years ago. University student Wei Zexi found a hospital through Baidu search and went to treatment, but due to improper treatment, the condition was delayed and eventually died.

▲ Wei Zexi's parents.

A few days after Wei Zexi's death, Baidu released an internal letter titled " Strengthening Wind and Rain and Persevering in Mission ", which is the first comprehensive response to the Wei Zexi incident.

But when you look carefully at this internal letter of more than 1,700 words, what you see is not an apology to the victim and reflection on yourself, but to show your encouraging side as much as possible.

In the face of the joint investigation team established by the Central Cyberspace Administration of China, Baidu, which obviously had to accept the investigation, said, " We announce that we welcome the investigation and will actively cooperate with it. " At the same time, it also " actively applies for and cooperates with the state's supervision and management. "

After that, he began to introduce how he has been fighting against the "Putian Hospital" and how strict his review process is, saying that he "has never slackened ."

In the end, it may have moved itself. Before Baidu said that it should take the corresponding responsibilities, it also emphasized that it "as an excellent company."

Such a response added fuel to the anger of public opinion, and in the end Robin Li had to respond , but the negative impact of this incident on Baidu has not been completely eliminated.

Li Yanhong later stated that this was the worst crisis that Baidu had ever encountered. The root cause is certainly a problem with the medical search business, but several insincere responses have undoubtedly expanded the negative effects a lot.

I was wrong, but I was actually wrong

Compared with "boastful apology," the apology genre that appears below is much more common. It is known as the big move of the universe, which can be given to temporary workers, or it can be used to let the unsentimental algorithm take the blame.

Don't look simple and rude, but tried and tested. Recently, in the sudden death of Pinduoduo employees, I saw the shadow of this genre again.

After a post published by Zhihu went viral, Pinduoduo first issued a statement to refute the rumors. After being slapped by Zhihu, he issued a statement stating that the content was sent by employees of the cooperating supplier, and also attached a handwritten letter from this "temporary worker" to prove that the matter had nothing to do with Pinduoduo.

In order to prove the authenticity of this handwritten letter, it also listed the mobile phone model, system version, serial number and other information that sent the post. Finally, the "temporary worker" who made the mistake was put on a red handprint.

In fact, many people did not doubt that such emotional expression was not an official position at first. In the past, Sony’s official WeChat account had similar "rollovers." But why it was not mentioned in the first statement, but it was sent out only an hour after being slapped in the face by knowing it, which is rather imaginative.

In fact, looking back at the whole incident, Pinduoduo only apologized for "Zhihu's account control is not strict", and only explained the sudden death of the 23-year-old employee, and said "heart is like a knife."

But if Pinduoduo really thinks that he has no problem, why did he suddenly force the grocery shopping staff to take a shift after the incident and urge everyone to leave work at 11 o'clock?

The ripple effect of a bad apology is that after Duopinduoduo was exposed to "remotely delete user pictures" a few days ago, its responses and explanations are hard to convince. The comment area is full of cynicism from netizens.

Coincidentally, Meituan recently took a similar operation after being questioned about "big data mastering", but this time the responsibility is not "temporary workers" but technical bugs.

In a public statement, Meituan stated that the difference in delivery fees was caused by location caching, but did not say anything about the losses caused to other users by the previous issue, and did not make more comments on similar issues that still existed by netizens. Response.

I was wrong, I did it for your own good

Higher-level dumping techniques are actually not simply throwing the responsibility to someone, but wrapped in a layer of sugar paper "for your good", "Although I am wrong, my original intention is good!"

Last year's "People" article "Takeaway Riders Stuck in the System" reflected the risks brought by the takeaway platform algorithm system to the riders. Naturally, the spearhead was directed at the two major takeaway platforms, Ele.me and Meituan.

Ele.me took the lead in responding without an apology. Instead, it launched a function that waits 5 minutes longer to reduce the pressure on the rider. The result was questioned to transfer the contradiction to consumers and riders.

Meituan’s subsequent statement obviously learned the lesson of Ele.me. The beginning of the statement was "If you didn't do it well, you didn't do it well, there is no excuse." Then it was the solution to the problem, which added a lot of points to itself.

Similarly, in the past two years, Alipay apologized for checking "Agree to the Sesame Service Agreement" by default for the annual bill. First it said it was "definitely wrong", and then it said "the original intention was correct ", but it used a " very stupid way" ".

More representatively, in 2017, after the unauthorized surveillance of Waterdrop Live, a subsidiary of 360 Company, was exposed, it was finally announced that it was closed with the open letter of product manager reflection .

Although it was a "reflection", at first, I pointed out that someone was "hacking us", and then stated that my original intention was to help people who work outside to take care of the elderly and children.

The product manager also stated that some teachers and parents of students objected to turning off the live broadcast because "it is a very good way for them to see their children's life and learning conditions" and believes that it is very valuable to do this.

After complaining about "black public relations", explaining my original intention for the sake of users, and emphasizing the corporate culture of "customer first", Didi Live finally began to reflect and admitted his mistakes .

After watching the "reflection" of the live broadcast of Water Drop, I am really grateful that such a product has closed.

I'm so sorry to be discovered by you

There is a "Fooling Learning" group on Douban, which responds to some unreasonable demands with the attitude of "Fooling Around". But there are also Internet companies that use "fooling" to apologize.

Last year, some netizens discovered that after opening Baidu's network disk, the computer and Internet speed became very slow, so they found out that Baidu was stealing user traffic through a "user reward program".

The issue of user wool, of course, attracted condemnation from the public. Baidu Netdisk also quickly issued an apology, and this statement is still evasive.

The thing Baidu Netdisk apologized for was that "the default PC joins the user incentive plan". The fault was that it did not give users a choice, but it did not respond positively to the use of users' broadband and hard drives.

The solution given is only to cancel all users of the "User Incentive Plan", but it does not talk about how to compensate users who have been smashed, as if to say:

I'm really sorry to be found out by you, I have admitted my mistakes, and the previous things will be wiped out.

Finally, Baidu Netdisk did not forget to offer the "for your good" candy paper, emphasizing that the plan uses mature P2P technology, which can improve the user experience of (paid) users.

All apologies that do not promise to make compensation are hooliganism . This simple and plain truth has been made clear in a TV series 20 years ago:

I already hammered myself before you hammered me

After seeing so many discomforting apologies, let’s finally take a look at a genre of apology that everyone loves to hear-the self-heard school. It's the opposite of "boastful apology," but it can really turn things around.

When we smiled knowingly at Yang Chaochao, who had the avatar of "Han Han Penguin" on the screen, we probably forgiven Nanshan Pizza Hut for applying for freezing Lao Gan Ma's tens of millions of property without verification.

Tencent’s series of self-hacking operations created an image of a victim of "funny injustice" in a familiar language on the Internet, which not only makes people hate it, but also dissolves the tension between the original and the old godmother.

Finally, Tencent and Lao Ganma issued a joint statement to clarify the misunderstanding. The Goose Factory has won the favor of countless netizens, and Lao Ganma's sales have also risen once, which is a win-win situation.

Baidu, which has been named many times before, actually tried this kind of operation. Soon after the Wei Zexi incident, Baidu registered a public account called "This Baidu Public Relations".

This public account claims to be "Baidu public relations that is not very good." It not only complained about itself, but also called on everyone to complain about it. It was also considered that Baidu, which was "disgraced" at the time, had restored a little image.

Facts have proved that in the Internet age, as long as you learn to hack and be cute, it is not only easier to get angry, but also easier to be forgiven if you make a mistake .

Apologize, is it really that hard?

In the book "Apologize", author Aaron Lazare regards apology as " the most profound interaction that can occur between people. "

An apology can not only repair the relationship between people, but may even resolve conflicts between different civilizations. In the business world, it is a compulsory course for every company.

So is a sincere apology really that difficult? Actually not. Roy Lewicki, an honorary professor of Ohio State University, once proposed six elements of an apology :

  • Acknowledge your responsibility
  • Offer compensation
  • Express your regret
  • Explanation of the error
  • Sincere confession
  • ask for forgiveness

Roy Lewicki conducted a controlled experimental study with hundreds of students and found that the more these elements are included in an apology, the higher the satisfaction of the person who is apologized. Among them, " admitting one's own responsibility " and " proactively offering compensation " are The most valued element.

There are still many studies on apology, but the conclusions are all similar. For example, the book " The Power of Apology " points out that an effective apology contains four elements: admission, self-blame, explanation, and compensation .

Those apology statements that have been praised as public relations templates, such as the letter of apology issued by Ant Financial’s chairman Peng Lei for the "Alipay Campus Diary Incident", and Luo Yonghao, who recently paid three times the compensation after a live broadcast overturned. It does not contain the above-mentioned elements of apology.

And looking at the apologies that disgust users, without exception, reveal a utilitarian atmosphere. The evaluation of Guo Jingming's apology by a netizen who knows the same applies to companies that do not apologize sincerely.

Now that you have achieved fame, I know I apologize.

I was boycotted, knowing that I apologized.

It affects earning money, knowing that I apologize.

An apology is a good thing, but it's too late.

Everything is a naked calculation, I admire him very much, and I can still sell the apology that should be a good price.

But the last sentence has to be changed. The seemingly shrewd apology did not sell for a good price, and Xiao Si paid a lot of money.

The title picture comes from: "Hansawa Naoki"

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo