out that Facebook pages can become a hub for criticism ('The antisocial network', 3 September, p14). However, it is important to recognise that Facebook is often the best location for this to happen.

While it is important to deal with an unhappy customer, it is also important to minimise the knock-on effect to others. When an unhappy consumer comments outside of a Facebook page, it is often harder for a brand to pick up on and solve the issue. An initially isolated problem can therefore spiral quickly out of control as more and more people read about the issue.

On Facebook, brands will still come in for criticism but can solve the issue more easily. As long as the page is properly managed, this minimises the knock-on effect.

Furthermore, Facebook brands can often count on their loyal fan base to come to their rescue in a time of crisis. When Vitaminwater was criticised for excess sugar content in its drinks, our study found 84% of comments on its Facebook page defended the product, while on the wider net 63% were critical.

Andy Pilkington, senior research executive, WaveMetrix