Fake News & Alternative Facts- Can PR Survive in a Post Trusth World-

The world of communications is continuously evolving. With the internet and social media, anybody and everybody can voice their opinion, establish themselves as content creators and distribute articles. Buzzfeed has been criticised for reporting unsubstantiated and unverified reports, raising doubts about the ethics of the publication.

Everyone is a content creator

With platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, anyone can write and share stories riddled with uncorroborated facts and hearsay. By the very nature of social media fake news can easily become viral, potentially having severe consequences. Fake news articles can be written and presented in such a way that it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

Distrust of the media

Fake news causes problems when news outlets distribute it without verifying the original source. Understandably, publications don’t want to be perceived as not distributing relevant information in a timely fashion. This can cause a distrust of the media.

Fake news has been around for as long as communication between people. The growth of newspapers and television gave power to the media and the ability to share information. However, with this came a realisation that there was a responsibility to corroborate stories if you wanted to be taken seriously as a reputable news outlet. This did not guarantee an unbiased report, but it did provide an element of discipline and time spent checking information. The change brought by the growth of social media is the instant mass sharing of an enormous amount of information, true or false.

Traditional news outlets have difficult decisions to make – do they share a story, or do they take time to corroborate it, thus potentially missing the opportunity?

News travels globally without validation. Fake news shares our screens with verified stories. So, how do you ensure what you are reading and sharing is real? How do you maintain a good reputation in a world where people can easily share untruths about your business?

How to avoid Fake News in your business:

  • Reputation is ‘hard won and easily lost’. Create your business narrative and be authentic. The more you share your real story with genuine updates, the more you will mitigate any negative effect on your reputation from fake news about you.
  • Concentrate on quality. Be timely but check your sources and share information after consideration.
  • When reading news, keep an open mind and look for different sources yourself. Think, how reputable is this source? Is this a source I’ve looked at previously? How reliable is it?
  • Remember – there has always and will always be fake news – it’s up to us to research, to be authentic and to enable factual communication.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of success. We can help boost your business, call us on 01483 537 890 or email michael@brookscomm.com

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