Fake News: How To Protect Your Business

Mar 30, 2017

The term “fake news” is one that has become synonymous with politics and social media. However, it is not just politicians and celebrities that can be targeted- businesses can be targets and can be damaged by false accusations.

Indeed, one recent phenomenon is what is known as a “flash crash” where investors panic due to a false report about how a company is in trouble (in one instance a company’s shares went down as much as 18% due to a report that later turned out to be false).

This is just one reason why it is important to know how to protect your business from fake news.

Be wary

With the rise in social media one of the big problems is that you can’t contact an editor or reporter and correct any false accusations. Furthermore, a big issue is how quickly these can be shared around so finding the original source of the inaccurate story can be very hard.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of social media and any posts. Clamping down on any inaccurate stories will reduce its spread. It is better to do that rather than having to answer back as this can be misread.

Be careful how you respond

You also need to be wary of how you respond as well as how quickly. One downside of responding quickly to a fake news story as it may come off as being overly defensive.

What can often be more effective is a measured approach- an open letter or paid advertisement on the platform can allow you to counter the story and provide the opposite view. If you can demonstrate why the story is wrong and do so in a patient way then often this will help people to get back on your side.

Encourage using reliable sources

It is also worth remembering that you may have employees and management making big decisions. You need to remind them of their responsibility- their decisions can potentially cost a lot of money and may result in people losing their jobs.

Therefore, the resources available to them should be as accurate as possible- using resources such as Reuters or Dow Jones will make it easier to avoid any inaccurate stories. Reacting to something in the short term could have big long term consequences so you need to be sure that people aware about this.

Equally you might have someone else handling your social media- if you have a specialist from outside your business doing this they need to know what your policy is and to act in a responsible way. They should not share stories that they do not where the source comes from.

Be vigilant

This can seem scary and potentially overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be the case- having the right people around you who know how to maintain a positive image for your company while at the same time checking stories to prevent any hasty short term decisions. With the right approach, you can maintain your authenticity and clamp down on the fake news.


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