CPSC Covers Its Bases by Going on Social Media
At first glance, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) creating Facebook and Instagram pages doesn't seem like a big deal. In fact, it makes sense. Some might have already assumed the organization already did. But, this comes as a bit of a controversial move.
What first stands out is the day that the CPSC announced its new social media presence: three days before President Trump's inauguration.
The reason for this could be to ensure that the agency is able to communicate important product safety information without any interference from companies. According to Gizmodo, the government introduced a law in 1981 that allowed private companies to restrict what the CPSC said about their product. This includes giving Samsung the power to control what and when the CSPC reported during its Galaxy Note 7 debacle.
Now, before Trump administration staff takes control of the CPSC, the agency wanted to be more transparent with the U.S.
"We decided to launch on Facebook a couple of days before the inauguration," a CPSC senior staff member told Gizmodo. "It was time to take a bold step."
The source added that the real key here is the open comment sections. By allowing open commenting, they're allowing the general public to comment (possibly with some choice words, as internet comment threads tend to go) about the companies in question.
"Those who testify could use such a platform to make negative comments about a company while on our property, and we would not stop the hearing, we would not stop the live web stream and we would not edit the recording," the staff member said.
Some are concerned that if people have free reign to say whatever they want and attack companies (sometimes falsely), it doesn't give companies an adequate chance to defend themselves against any false accusations.
"Our presence on these platforms appropriately builds on our life-saving efforts to share trusted information about health and safety risks associated with ongoing and emerging hazards as well as recalled products," CPSC chairman Elliot F. Kaye said, according to Gizmodo. "Facebook and Instagram importantly allow us to target segments of the population that require a more creative and direct approach to reach with our messaging."