Recovering from Scandals: Twitter Coverage of Oxfam and Save the Children Scandals

Recovering from Scandals: Twitter Coverage of Oxfam and Save the Children Scandals.VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations volume 31, pages94–110(2020). Rebecca Scurlock, Nives Dolsak & Aseem Prakash

We examine Twitter data to assess the impact of media exposes on the reputations of two international nonprofits, Oxfam and Save the Children (STC). Using a random sample of 6794 Tweets, we study the daily gap between positive and negative sentiments expressed towards these organizations. The “unweighted gap” and the “weighted gap” (weighted by the number of followers) of the Twitter handle follow broadly the same trajectory with high fluctuation in response to new negative or positive media stories. Twitter handles with large audiences amplify variability in weighted gap. While Oxfam’s reputation did not fully recover to pre-Haiti levels even 6 months after the scandal, STC’s reputation returned to pre-scandal levels in 8 days, although it fluctuated in response to new revelations. Overall, reputation recovery for both organizations was aided when they received celebrity endorsements and focused public attention on their positive activities, especially by linking to visible global events.

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