How Fake News Can Damage Brand Reputation
There is nothing new about the concept of fake news. It’s been around ever since the invention of the printing press, yet the rise of the internet and social media has seen it explode into the mainstream conscious.
Fake news is exactly what it sounds like it – fake. Despite being untrue information, fake news is written and presented in a way that appears to come from a professional and trustworthy source.
We’re seeing more of it than ever because it’s never been easier to create fake news – anyone with a computer and an internet connection can create their own fake news.
It takes many forms and the inventions can vary, although most fake news is designed to generate clicks and ad revenue, and social media has helped it spread like wildfire.
With more people than ever consuming news from social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s become more difficult to control, with many sharing fake news without checking the veracity of the information presented.
This can be bad news for brand reputation. The modern marketer understands the power of social media and how it allows a brand identity to reach the right people, helping it spread and grow like few other marketing tools, but this also means a brand could be susceptible to fake news.
Look at Facebook, which is dealing with the fallout from fake news spreading throughout the website daily. Because of the incredible number of users on Facebook, it’s having serious issues controlling the spread of fake news, which appears to be damaging the company’s reputation like nothing before.
Facebook claims it’s doing everything in it’s power to combat the spread of fake news – from using advanced AI to hiring thousands of additional moderators – yet the stigma remains firmly one the social media giants.
You don’t need to be a household brand to suffer the effects of fake news either – it can happen to companies of every scope and size.
Just imagine being on the receiving end of a fake news story.
You’ve little control over the spread of the misinformation, particularly on social media, so should the news go viral then you’re already fighting an uphill battle to recover from the damage of fake news.
While the information may be false, even just a small amount of exposure could be disastrous for brand reputation, especially when it spreads quickly. Before you even have a chance to respond, countless people already believe the fake news along with negative perceptions that tend to come from it.
Perception is everything for a company, and when your brand image suffers, so too does business. Furthermore, with the increase in fake news, more people are becoming distrustful of media – this means you’re attempts to recover may fall on deaf ears.
Another huge issue regarding fake news and the negative impact it has on your brand is the fact it remains online. This is most prevalent on social media, meaning even though you’ve quashed the fake news personally, someone will eventually come across it down the line, which in turn could spread the news once more.
The threat of fake news reappearing should always be in the minds of marketers – you could end up dealing with the same problem all over again.
Worst still, fake news doesn’t just impact your brand online – it could be just as determinantal offline too. If the news story becomes so prominent and draws a vitriolic response, a business could face an onslaught of harassment and threats.
Granted, these can be on the more extreme end of the fake news spectrum, but the risks remain there all the same, highlighting just how dangerous and damaging fake news is for a brand.
So, it’s always important to be mindful of the risks of fake news and its impact on your brand, as well as how to react should you become embroiled with it. A fast and honest response is always important, while it helps to be proactive.
Take the time to search for news articles about your company, gauge audience responses should you find any, and always use the appropriate platforms to protect your brand.