EU AND UK COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS SUPPORT
H/Advisors Cicero was appointed alongside North America network partners H/Advisors Abernathy to support long-term media and public affairs engagement for the Oversight Board, the independent content moderation body for Facebook. The Oversight Board’s objective was to display its independence from Facebook and show that it was delivering meaningful change to the company’s content moderation policies, positioning the board as the leading expert on the regulation and self-regulation of social media platforms.
H/Advisors Cicero undertook an extensive reputational audit, using our in-house research team’s polling and interviewing capability amongst the general public, relevant policymakers and wider stakeholders. This resulted in an extensive messaging platform, including reactive answers to hostile and difficult questions.
A calendar of key decision moments was developed to support stakeholder and messaging grids for specific campaigns, and an extensive media and policymaker engagement programme was launched, with several private meetings arranged between the board and journalists (particularly those unconvinced of the Oversight Board’s relevance and independence).
Public-facing ‘two-pager’ narratives were designed and sent to journalists and stakeholders as an introduction, and we executed a continuous programme of media engagement, targeting titles likely to be read by influential MPs, such as The Guardian and the Financial Times.
Media engagement was supported by direct policy engagement in Westminster and Brussels: Strategic advice and policy communications support on the interplay between the Board’s work and upcoming EU policy reforms (i.e. EU Digital Services Act) supported reputation building between the Board and EU Presidents, Commissioners, EU politicians and senior advisers. Support also included speech writing and policy paper drafting.
After a year of working with them [The Oversight Board] we have secured hundreds of pieces of positive press coverage – especially in February 2022 when we were able to place a positive piece of news with the BBC, Reuters, The Guardian and numerous tech news sites. We now see a hunger to engage with the Board from across the news spectrum – a recent outreach to journalists in April 2022 saw near 100% engagement, and a desire to meet with the OB among journalists who’ve hitherto been more sceptical.Chris Wimpress, Director of Political Communications, H/Advisors Cicero
The Oversight Board is well-positioned, prepared, and has the requisite media profile to contribute vital thought leadership in anticipation of regulatory measures such as the Digital Services Act and the Code of Conduct on Disinformation in the EU as well as the Online Harms Bill in the UK.