With the mass amounts of information now available on the internet, it is getting harder and harder to search out facts versus rumors and opinion. I found was directed to a New York Times article through Glass House’s review of digital media laws for manipulation and points to remember. Glass House gave a few rules for companies and individuals to remember when reading media that is portrayed as facts.
He told companies to review all media sources, expand communication beyond just mainstream media, and to respond quickly to image and financial damage. For individuals, he told them not to believe everything they read, fact check social media sources, and expand your information sources.
These tips seem obvious as you are reading them, but think about all of the rumors that have been started because someone heard about it on the Internet from an unreliable source. The Internet provides the rumor mill a breeding ground, making juicy gossip spread like wildfire. This affects PR professionals by making our job even harder. It makes it more difficult to fact check when we create press releases and communicate with stakeholders. It can also hurt our clients by starting rumors about the company that are not based on actual fact.
Only a few weeks ago Apple’s stock fell because a rumor was started that implied Steve Jobs, the company’s CEO, had passed away. The rumor started on CNN’s citizen journalist site, ireport. Because readers trusted CNN, they assumed that ireport was just as reputable. There was no fact checking going on, and it made Apple have to work fast to distribute the truth.