16 October 2020

Tech Perspective #19: How to Fight Fake News?


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

Fake reviews

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.

Negative rumours

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.

Fake offers

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.

Read more stories on tech and business on our blog

Marcin Bartoszuk
Chief Operating Officer

With Microsoft technologies related since 2005. He graduated from the Computer Science Faculty of the Bialystok University of Technology where he was the leader of the .NET Group and the Microsoft Student Partner. Four times finalist of the national stage of the Imagine Cup competition, and later the mentor and the jury member of the contest. Co-founder of the Bialystok .NET Group. He lectured .NET development at the Bialystok University of Technology. Microsoft MVP in the Client Application Development category in 2008-2010, when he actively participated in the IT community. Constant new technology enthusiast and IT consultant.