How To Protect Your Reputation After a Fake News Article is Published
“Fake news” is big news these days. If you’re a Democrat, you might blame it for Hillary Clinton’s presidential defeat last year. If you’re a Republican, you may share President Donald Trump’s concerns about fake news articles in the mainstream media. But what do you do when the fake news plague affects you personally?
Whether you’re a public official, a business leader, or a celebrity, fake news has the power to destroy your reputation, your image, and your brand. It’s virtually everywhere online from independent news sites to all forms of social media. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, nearly a quarter of Americans have unintentionally shared one or more fake news, and roughly two-thirds of Americans feel that the recent rise in fake news has led to “a great deal of confusion” about current events.
Below is how and why you should respond swiftly to fake news attacks by following 8 simple steps. Protect your reputation, your image, and your brand. If you need advice or consulting on issues like these our Reputation Management Company can help you solve them with ease.
An Ounce of Prevention
So what can you do in the face of these fake news attacks? Well, experts recommend never making yourself a target in the first place. For example, make sure that you choose your advertising and promotional sites carefully. It’s quite easy to become connected with fake news inadvertently by appearing at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Wise companies and entrepreneurs will also anticipate potential hot button issues before they flame up. This will enable them to have an appropriate spokesperson on hand and a reliable response strategy in place when problems arise.
When Fake News Affects You
- Consider the facts.
The first thing to do when you discover that the fake news articles is about you is to quickly yet thoroughly separate fact from fiction. Even the most ridiculous fake news stories often contain one or two kernels of truth. In an effort to address the situation in rapid order, consider taking a red pen to the story as it was published, identifying inaccuracies, and correcting them. This corrected copy can then be immediately posted on your website and/or social media sites.
- Tell your truth in an interesting way.
When a prominent company or public figure is attacked with a fake news story, a team of publicists and attorneys generally springs into action to release a formal statement. Although this statement may set the record straight with great stringency and care, it will often come across as stiff, lifeless, full of jargon, and devoid of a strong point of view. Don’t let your statement go unnoticed simply because it is dry and boring. Strive to develop a new narrative that explains the truth in a manner that is as interesting as the lies that you are trying to set straight.
- Remember your right to remain silent.
Sometimes the best way to deal with false claims is simply to ignore them. If you think that remaining above the fray is the most effective way forward, you must justify this decision to key team players such as employees and stakeholders. In other words, it’s not enough to simply keep quiet. You must communicate to others exactly why you are keeping quiet.
- Choose your battles well.
When it comes to knowing when to speak out and when to say nothing, think about the following catchphrase: if there isn’t traction, don’t take action. In other words, if the fake news story in question isn’t trending, a rapid response may not be in your best interests. If people are widely sharing the story, however, an immediate response is essential.
- Consider possible slant and spin.
Before responding to a fake story, think closely about the source of this story. If it comes from an obviously slanted news outlet, you may want to let the story sink under its own disreputable weight rather than slinging mud back at a known mudslinger. Remember that any statement that your issue can be strategically edited and taken out of context or fit an opposing agenda.
- Pick a side.
This can be a bit tricky. If the fake news in question aligns you with a particular social movement or political point of view, an overly strong rebuttal gives the overall impression that you are allied with the opposing party, therefore alienating certain customers and key stakeholders. On the other hand, don’t underestimate the power of staying on the right side of public opinion In general, taking a strong socially-responsible stance offers greater benefits than attempting to walk the middle ground on an important issue.
- Consider taking legal action.
While public relations experts typically discourage clients from suing the media, the rules are a bit different for obviously fake news. Sometimes legal action is necessary to get a fake news story corrected or deleted against the will of the media outlet that published it. There are many good attorneys in America who will accept fake news cases on a pro bono basis.
Respond swiftly to fake news attacks by following 7 simple steps. Protect your reputation, your image, and your brand.
Whether you’re a public official, a business leader, or a celebrity, fake news has the power to destroy your reputation, your image, and your brand. Protect yourself and respond swiftly to attacks by following 8 simple steps.
Whether you’re a public official, a business leader, or a celebrity, fake news articles have the power to destroy your reputation, your image, and your brand. Protect yourself and respond swiftly to attacks by following 8 simple steps.