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The social media sounds of silence: How kids’ product manufacturers fail to notify of recalls

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2019 | Firm News

Social media has permeated every aspect of society. Friends reunite. Couples meet and marry. Personal videos and pictures trend. Businesses without resources to advertise can ascend to dominance in their respective industries.

Upstart and established enterprises have access to millions of prospective and loyal customers. Free advertising that can reach thousands and even millions of consumers on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is a click or keypress away.

However, when it comes to providing vital information on recalled products, companies are at best selective and at worst silent.

Examples include:

  • The Boy Scouts of America took to Facebook and Instagram to announce a recall of slides for their trademark neckerchief due to high lead content, yet the Scouts failed to notify tens of thousands of Twitter followers.
  • Following the deaths of infants, Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play inclined sleepers and informed nearly 7 million Twitter and Facebook followers, but not more than half a million Instagrammers
  • Jané’s Muum, a manufacturer of strollers that violated federal safety standards, did not bother to communicate that news to 100,000 followers on all social media platforms

A survey conducted by Kids in Danger reveals troubling shortcomings by companies in the business of selling products for children, even when teaming with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). About two-thirds of 117 companies dealing with a recall in the past two years posted information on their websites. Half posted on Facebook. Even fewer sent out tweets and Instagram notifications.

While the CPSC details recall data on their site, companies with products that have caused injuries or deaths are under no such obligation to notify anyone on any type of platform. Their only requirements are generically twofold: Provide solutions and contact information for consumers.

Awareness is paramount when lives may be at risk. Manufacturers have an obligation to provide consumers with appropriate information when a product is dangerous or defective.