Prevent Misinformation from Harming You.
By: Jenn Langdon
The concept of ‘fake news’ and misinformation might currently be a hot button issue – having falsehoods spread unchecked has been an issue in both the private and public sectors of business for decades. A rumor, or false news story, can cause customer backlash which can quickly translate into a loss of reputation and profit.
With the advent of the internet and subsequent invention of quick and large scale communication platforms like social media, blogs and forums, misinformation, rumors, falsehoods and conspiracy theories have transformed from an annoyance and profit loss to often times an actual threat. Mass communication platforms allow people from all walks of life and all corners of the Earth to promote and exchange ideas – no matter how baseless or untimely the ideas might be.
For example, in 2008, an article about United Airlines parent company filing for bankruptcy began circulating on social media. This caused United Airlines stock to quickly tumble in value. However, the article that was being circulated had actually been written in 2002. After the timeliness of the article came to light, the stock quickly rebounded but still closed 11.2% down.
Not only is it important for public relations professionals, public and private sector businesses, and more to track misinformation about their organizations, it is crucial that all of us make sure that we are not contributing to misinformation and fake news in our personal social media use, as well. If you see a story scrolling through Twitter that seems extremely salacious or juicy, take a moment to verify that the story is based in reality. There are many fact-checking websites that are easy and convenient to use. It is our collective responsibility as communications professionals to make sure that we are doing the best to communicate only truths online, even in our personal lives.
Allowing misinformation to spread unfettered about one’s business, area of expertise, or entity can be exceedingly dangerous and cause long term effects. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. With a tool like social media monitoring, you can track in real time what is being said about your keywords.
If you want to learn more on how Newz Group can help you find you, contact us today!
Jenn Langdon is the Business Development Director at Newz Group. She has also been a contributing columnist for newspapers like The Sedalia Democrat and Kansas City Pitch.