There is a cultural difference even when making an official apology. In Japan, apology is usually made through press conference. In the United States, the person in question reads a written apology and leaves the place and then his representative gives answers to the question from the press. In Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, the person, in many cases, expresses apology to reporters camping out on his or her doorsteps.
There are certain rules when making an apology. For example, the “3R” rule refers to regret, react and reassure. In the book “The Five languages of Apology” by American counselor Gary Chapman, the author describes five languages of apology: expressing regret (I’m sorry), accepting responsibility (It’s my fault), making restitution (What can I do for you?), genuinely repenting (I won’t do it again) and requesting forgiveness (Will you forgive me?). Recently, we hear many apologies from perpetrators revealed from “Me Too” movement in Korea. Those apologies, however, often fail to win sympathy, but instead stir another controversy. One perpetrator is said to rehearse his official apology and another made a conditional apology, saying, “I apologize if my acts are considered as sexual harassment in today’s standards,” causing a backlash from the public.
“We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the advertisements on Sunday (local time) it ran in British and U.S. newspapers apologizing to users for data leak scandal. The full-page ad with Zuckerberg’s signature on it was meant to amend the situation, but many said it was a belated apology.
Zuckerberg remained silent for a while about the data privacy scandal. On Wednesday, five days after the scandal first broke out, he made an apology on his Facebook page and by appearing on CNN. But he shifted the blame by saying “Facebook made a mistake.” His apology has angered many users. Delete Facebook (#DeleteFacebook) campaign has taken off online, showing that users are losing confidence in Facebook. What kind of apology turns crisis into opportunity? It would be a sincere apology that sympathizes with victims, not making an excuse or unnecessary comments. Having the courage to make a sincere apology would be one of the virtues leaders should have.