Elections. Climate change. Coronavirus. Whether it’s fake news, deep fakes, or the deliberate sharing of false information to deceive, it seems that this phenomenon spreads like a wildfire.
With a single click, false information can be sent out to the world to see it. Another series of clicks, it can gain publicity. All it takes is a catchy and controversial title and lack of source check.
We live fast and consume media even faster. We are also flooded with content. It’s painfully easy to catch us off-guard.
However, when your company’s good name is on the line, be prepared to act quickly.
How fake news affects businesses
When looking for a reliable business partner or simply shopping or booking, client reviews influence just about every aspect of the decision. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to create a smear campaign. A rival company or an extremely dissatisfied ex-employee can successfully damage your business’s image.
Fake news can be used to boost stock prices, but also to achieve the opposite. For example, in 2017, a post claimed the CEO of cryptocurrency company Ethereum had died in a car accident. This resulted in the loss of approximately $4 billion in the value of the organisation’s shares. The CEO himself had to confirm that he was still alive.
Internet trolls created a fake promotion for coffee giant Starbucks in 2017 by claiming that undocumented immigrants in the United States could receive a 40% discount code. Even though the organisation reacted quickly and denied the existence of this offer, the consequences could have severely disrupted branches at a local level and increase customers’ dissatisfaction.
How to protect your business from fake news
Plan for every conceivable situation
First and foremost, be prepared. Try to predict any conceivable situation, write drafts of responses, and appoint someone media-trained as a spokesperson. Also, don’t forget to organise some legal back-up that can support you in times of crisis.
Ensure your security
Fake news can be spread through your official channels. Therefore, ensure the security of your official channels and websites, and make sure no unauthorised content can be published.
Monitor mentions of your company
When tackling fake news, every minute counts. Therefore, it’s advisable to monitor mentions of your company to determine who and, what’s the most important, how is talking about your company. There are special tools that can help you with that; check out Brand24.
Foster a culture of trust
Reliability and trustworthiness can significantly help you tackle the crisis. If you foster a culture of honesty and gain your clients’ trust, you’ll be in a better position to prove that the fake news is false.
Carefully deconstruct the lies
Don’t simply deny; explain why the information is false in an authoritative manner. No professional would simply scream “fake news”; try to stay calm and patiently explain the situation.
Don’t let the fake news let you down
There’s no denying that fake news are becoming more and more problematic and many businesses tremble with fear at the thought of a possible fake news crisis.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to build a trustworthy and reliable image of your company and secure all your official channels.
Then, even if the crisis hits, it will be easier to restore your reputation and introduce a recovery plan.