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Social media could improve product recall effectiveness

The popularity of social media makes it an excellent tool for marketing, but some companies aren't utilizing it in a way that keeps consumers safe. These companies will post ads for the products to consumers on these networks, but information about safety hazards and recalls isn't posted on social media.

Some companies pick and choose which platforms to use to warn consumers of issues. Fisher-Price failed to alert the almost 540,000 people who follow it on Instagram of the recall of 4.7 million inclined sleepers. It did post a notice on Facebook and Twitter, which have a total of 6.7 million followers.

The Consumer Safety Products Commission conducted a survey about how companies use online methods to warn consumers about safety issues. It found that out of 117 companies, only 65% have posted recall information on the official corporate page. The survey looked into child-related products and included posts within the past two years.

Consumers are more likely to hear about recalls on Facebook where just over half of the companies in the survey warned consumers of a recall. Fewer than 20% of companies alerted consumers on Instagram. And, Twitter fell in the middle for these notifications.

A push is being made that would require companies to issue social media notifications and place notices on the official website for the company. Kids in Danger is asking the CPSC to initiate this rule to help keep consumers safe.

The CPSC does publish recall information on its website; however, this isn't very effective. Consumers who are harmed by products have the option of seeking compensation for the damages they face. Many of these issues could be prevented by better use of social media, which would help consumers to avoid injuries and stop companies from facing lawsuits.

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