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Fake news and crisis management

Fake news phenomena forces us to correct the facts.... And fast.

· PR tips

Disinformation is made easy by the web and our laziness.

I was quoted recently in an interview with Canoe.qc.ca about how one can deceive people on the web with video productions. All the tools are there for anyone able to tell a story with moving images. But I feel I need to add that words are probably a more potent tool when it comes to disinformation.

More effective than video: words.

Before I state my top 3 reasons behind my statement, I would like to take the opportunity to add that today if something false is written about your company on the web, to prevent any negative flare-ups, companies have now the obligation in my mind to systematically correct the misinformation.

Why? Because it used to be that incongruous thoughts or opinions did not require any attention due the mere nature of them. But the Internet has changed the game mostly because of 3 reasons.

1- Stickiness factor.

What is written stays on the web and can be accessed years later.

2- Web Suspend disbelief.

People don’t check the sources of what is written. The vast majority just assume because it is on Facebook it is true.

3- The filter culture

Today the users are more and more savvy about how to wrap an opinion with the veneer of official news.

How do you correct the misinformation?

First and foremost, get the facts out there. But in today's world, facts are playing second fiddle to emotion. So facts alone won't cut it anymore. You will need to simultaneously build a communications campaign that starts with the audience's beliefs. While philosophy scorns public opinion, in Communications and Public Relations, your audience beliefs are as important as the facts. Then change the perception with emotional storytelling.

In other words, combat disinformation with the same argumentative tool people are using against you: emotion.

Because ideas become beliefs when people identify with them and when they help define the group itself.

Let's face it. Would you rather identify with Superman or a beautifully rounded percentage stat?

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