How to combat fake news through PR

How to combat fake news through PR

Today fake news is on the rise. The reason being that news sources today are no longer exclusively the mass media but social media too. Mass Media has always had gatekeepers like Editors and Publishers who do take the effort to verify the credibility of news. Social Media though is a completely different ball game. Facebook and Twitter have played a big role in the dissemination of fake news. Watzapp forwards too have become a menace when it comes to passing around fake news.

What is fake news?

Fake news can be defined as blatantly false or misleadingly exaggerated information presented as true through a trustworthy media source. It’s very easy and cheap to create fake news and distribute it through social media. Many of these go viral and in many ways unfairly damage the reputations of people brands and organisations.  It can be so powerful that it can damage the image, lead to a drop in sales or even destroy the brand.

How can PR combat fake news?

Keep your eyes open for fake news about your brand or organisation, at the first signs of it, work must be undertaken on a war footing to stop its spread.  Immediately, get into damage control mode and provide timely and accurate information through PR. Have an identifiable source.

Tell the truth

The most powerful armour that you have to combat fake news is the truth. Be transparent. Provide facts to back up what you say. Craft a clear message without being ambiguous and keep the channel of information flowing. Appoint a one point contact inside the organization that the media can reach.

Create the right team

Stemming the flow of fake news is also about sending the right kind of signals and right news out. Form a team of responsible thinkers who can handle this and put in the right kind of thought process.

Fight it with fire

Create powerful releases and keep regularly releasing them. Try and create something sensational so that gets into the news. Speed is of essence, so don’t hesitate, the minute fake news hits the brand, fire the cannons. How you write the release is also important, use straightforward headlines and simple language that conveys the content quickly and effectively.

Have a crisis plan in place

It always helps for brands to be prepared for crisis. There must be a kind of scale crafted to assess the impact – moderate to severe and different plans to deal with each contingency. Being prepared always works the best.

Use technology

Facebook has a feature that allows alerting objectionable news. Ask as many users as possible to do this and it could help get the offensive post taken down.  Getting the brand’s FB page to be a verified one goes a long way in helping disseminate proper news.

Keep your ear to the ground. Build a good network in the media and among others in different walks of life. This will help you sniff out fake news faster and react quicker.  Use these valuable tips to weed out fake news and bring back the trust factor to your brand.

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