Why Facebook Should Read MTN Stylebook

Facebook Founder, Mark Zukerberg

Rarzack Olaegbe

Dayo Adefila, Head of Digital Strategy PZ Cussons (Africa region), while writing on his LinkedIn page, said the apology from MTN CEO was so shocking to some people. “Because they thought it was an attempt by hackers to lure them to click a phishing link”. According to Adefila, the response from MTN is the new reality of corporate organisations.


You need a stylebook. It will help you to coordinate your wardrobe. It will enhance how you dress. It will save you from wardrobe malfunction. If you are not a trendsetter, pardon the intrusion. But if you run a corporate organisation and sit in the C-suite, get a stylebook for your organisation. It will save you embarrassment.

For fashionistas, stylebooks describe how to clothe a public figure for different occasions. It will list colour combinations, fabrics, shoes and accessories. By extension, a stylebook for a newspaper house would contain its standardised usage conventions for how to write. It would usually include which dictionary should be taken as definitive for spelling. The stylebook would describe the accepted style of writing. It would include sentence structures, headline, spellings and capitalisation rules. It would also have font types and ethics.

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As a guide, it is used by editors, reporters and writers etc. In the publishing world, the first stylebook was published in 1909 by Associated Press. It was called The Associated Press Rules Regulations and General Orders. Now, in its 55th edition, the classic, practical spiral-bound is published every other year. The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law has more than 200 new or revised entries. It contains chapters on data journalism. It covers business, religion and sports terms.

Stylebooks would help the readers to understand the message. Set the tone of the organisation. Avoid mistakes. Prevent unwittingly offensive or insulting language. Eliminate buzzwords. Cut down the work for editors and proof-readers. The stylebook guides the organisation on how to present itself. It may also list its logo and other symbols that represent its values and ethos. This is done to ensure the brand images are used consistently. Clearly, the stylebooks are usually produced for internal consumption. So, it may not be accessible to the public. Is this Fintech?

Aha, come with me. Please. We will get there together. Just some background information. Can I infer that you also have a stylebook that guides how you write this column? Aha, you have looked into your crystal ball!  Please, don’t change the subject matter. Is this Fintech or branding? To calm your nerves, it is soft technology. What is soft technology? Soon, you would know.

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Recently, millions of people all over the world could not access Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp apps. The outage lasted for more than six hours. It portrayed the world’s reliance on the platforms owned by one Silicon Valley giant.

In a 249-word statement, Santosh Janardhan, Facebook’s vice president of infrastructure, tied the interruption to some configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between Facebook and its data centres. These changes, Janardhan said, caused issues that interrupted Facebook communication. Because of this shutdown, Facebook’s 2.89 billion users were shut out.

On the flip side, MTN Nigeria equally experienced a shutdown recently. MTN subscribers witnessed hours of network disruption. This was caused by an outage that left subscribers without a connection. To calm its subscribers’ nerves, MTN announced compensation for its subscribers to make up for the network disruptions. Beyond extending time-bound subscriptions for its customers, MTN gave a refund. The refund covers the data and airtime that the customers used between 12pm and 7pm on October 16, 2021. In addition to this, MTN issued a 406-word press statement.

To win the hearts of the 65 million subscribers, MTN CEO, Karl Toriola, made a YouTube video. He apologised in the video. He sent the video to each of the 65 million subscribers. In the video, Toriola said, “On behalf of the entire MTN team, I want to start with a heartfelt apology. We are truly sorry for the disruption this caused for so many in our MTN family. We know that millions of people rely on us to stay connected to their loved ones, to manage their businesses, to coordinate their lives. We take that responsibility, and privilege, very seriously.”

Dayo Adefila, Head of Digital Strategy PZ Cussons(Africa region), while writing on his LinkedIn page, said the apology from MTN CEO was so shocking to some people. “Because they thought it was an attempt by hackers to lure them to click a phishing link”. According to Adefila, the response from MTN is the new reality of corporate organisations. Organizations need to pay greater attention to customers when there is a service outage. “Customer experience quality should be closely watched by everyone from operatives to the C-Suite and even the board! Corporate organisations need to demonstrate accountability to the customer. We have to do more. We have tohttps://momoagent.com.ng/ do more in order to continually earn the trust of our customers”, he said.

Is this a soft technology? Yes. Because there are millions of Fintech start-ups that earn their living on the MTN MoMo and Facebook platforms. Okay. But which one is momo again? I cannot go into details here. That is not the focus of this discourse. Okay, you have dribbled me there, Neymar! I will tackle you next time. Aha, it is not a dribble. Ok, it is what? Focus, please.

You see, in a world where denial and buck-passing is the trend, MTN has shown character. Facebook should read the MTN Stylebook. Other Fintech firms and the banks should read the MTN Stylebook also. Are you saying all of them should start shooting apology videos? No, Big Mummy! Ok, what is your point, Neymar? My opinion is that the technology companies and the banks should take the customers more seriously.

MTN CEO Karl Apologises For October 9 Outage, Rewards Subscribers (video)

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This would assist Facebook, Fintech firms, banks and others in the ecosystem to communicate clearly with the end-users. It will help them to show empathy. To display clear leadership. To become more responsible.

With over 2.89 billion monthly active users, Facebook needs the MTN Stylebook. Because this may not be the last outage. Facebook would need the MTN Stylebook in the future. Are you making a prediction or what? No, ma. I think you also need the MTN Stylebook. What?

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