Business in Disinformation Era
INVESTING ON THE GO - Iggy Go (The Freeman) - June 2, 2020 - 12:00am

After the Information Age, a new era has begun. It’s called many things by experts: the fake news era, post-truth era, or my preference, the disinformation era. It is a world where personal beliefs and emotions are more important than facts!

We see this all the time online, where popular opinion can have an edge over entrepreneurs/businesses/state or even reputable experts and even professional research. The issues facing organizations are post truth; alternative facts; and fake news. See definitions below:

Post truth - relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. Basically, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire or biased towards.

Alternative facts - falsehoods, untruths, delusions. In a (U.S.) legal setting, it simply means competing facts: where each side of a dispute will lay out its own version of the facts for the court to decide.

Fake news - websites/pages/accounts deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purporting to be real news; often using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect.  Unlike news satire, fake news sources seek to mislead rather than entertain readers for financial, political, or other gain.

What is the Purpose of Disinformation?

There’s plenty to be gained from engaging in disinformation such as political, social and economic. Influence over elections, legislation, policies & projects, decision makers, inciting/deepening internal conflicts, radicalization, investment climate, image of state and trust towards it, market value of companies and more!

With the help of specially-tailored narratives in the information space, including traditional & new media, attempts are made all the time to manipulate virtually every community in target market/companies/countries. Especially today where Big political parties/players have learned how to play the game or even polish it.

Our Vulnerability

Communications today can prey on some of our deepest human instincts. Humans by nature selfish, tribal, gullible convenience seekers who put the most trust in what seems familiar.

Information is only as reliable as the people who both send and receive it. If there is no change or adjustment in the ability to improve the ability to identify, seek reliable sources then we are in for a lot of chaos.               

How it affects businesses

Disinformation  is another challenge that must be faced by both private and public enterprises. The first purpose of disinformation is to have a detrimental effect on the reputation and brand of an institution or company.

Second, the existence of trolls, who are motivated not by profit but by spite or dogma to harm specific corporations which can directly or indirectly affect public opinion causing strikes, boycotts or the like.

Third, disinformation can also steer company-level decisions such as withdrawing from a project under the influence of false information.

Fourth, profiteers can benefit whether a stock rises or falls because of false information (see “pump and dump” schemes).

Fifth, disinformation can also influence disaster risk reduction & response. PRs, Marketing must filter through the noise of disinformation to better prepare or respond to a crisis, pandemic and the like situations.

To overcome these threats, it doesn’t hurt to plan, run simulations and prepare to respond to such incidents online/offline. Business continuity methods work as well.

It can be said that “Telling the truth” has become a key responsibility of business. Communicating regularly with your community, customers and business partners can build confidence, so those partners will know whom to trust in the face of false information.

ERA
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