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When is public criticism of companies and their changes valid?

by | Nov 23, 2021 | Public Relations

Most of the time, internet users tend to disagree with any sort of design change, no matter how small it might be. Even if it’s the slightest hue changes of a color or the size of a font, people will be talking about it and criticizing the change for days on social media. Given how opposed internet users are to change, their reaction to any changes that involve NFTs or cryptocurrency is going to be even stronger and could result in negative public relations.

That’s why when the CEO of the instant messaging and digital distribution platform Discord, Jason Citron, briefly mentioned that the platform would be integrating with the cryptocurrency Ethereup on his Twitter profile, users reacted with disappointment and criticism. Thousands of people decided to share their opinion on the matter, saying that they would be canceling their paid subscriptions to the platform, and telling the CEO all about how joining the current cryptocurrency craze is not a good idea.

However, instead of joining the trend, Discord has become the cryptocurrency trend, as practically every NFT project and cryptocurrency has its own server on the platform. Many of those servers have thousands of members, and people have formed entire communities on Discord. Simply put, many cryptocurrency investors are already users of Discord, and ignoring those users isn’t a smart business—or smart public relations—choice for the company overall.

The reason for that decision might be because as of late, there have been numerous scams relating to various cryptocurrencies that have popped up on Discord. In these scams, a user invites other people to open a link, only to end up stealing their tokens or their NFT projects. Additionally, a number of the NFT projects that are already on the platform have turned out to be scams too, and given the public’s opposition to NFTs, the backlash against the CEO’s tweet is understandable.

A number of people have been expressing their negative opinions of NFTs as of late, seeing them as only a mindless, profit-generating tool of people and businesses in the arts or entertainment industries. That’s why it comes as no surprise that a platform that’s centered around video games, such as Discord, acknowledges its place in the conversations around cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Discord has also introduced new and helpful tools; introductions that many people will perceive as the platform taking a side on a controversial topic.

Despite the negative environmental impacts that many cryptocurrencies and NFT projects make, plenty of big video game companies have announced their own integrations of one or the other options. However, one of the biggest digital gaming storefronts, Steam, ended up banning NFT and cryptocurrency-related games from its database.

While users are going to continue to oppose the decision from Discord, the fact of the matter is that there are big communities that center around the topic, and many users that are already investors in NFTs and cryptocurrencies. If the platform doesn’t work to keep those users around, they might migrate to different platforms, which is not the ideal option. Fortunately, just like any other big social media change, the users will end up getting used to the changes, and even potentially forgetting it ever happened after they do.

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Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations: 5WPR is one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.

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