Ready for fake news

Ready for fake news

Fake news is the catch-all term for different types of misinformation. Its reach can quickly damage the reputation of businesses, individuals or campaigns.

Every organisation needs the skills to protect its work, reputation and people, by knowing what to look for and how to respond effectively.

From fiction to rumour

We deliver training for organisations who face the full range of ‘fake news’. Their challenges range from fictional reporting on false websites, to rumour and misunderstanding among customers.

Our training breaks down the different types of fake news. We help you identify and prioritise types of misinformation and devise practical strategies for combatting these.

We blend theory and case studies with hands-on learning using the Social Simulator, enabling teams to get experience of monitoring, assessing and responding to fake news in real time.

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Practice

Identify and respond to different types of 'fake news'

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Verify

Monitor and verify online content and sources

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Triage

Build confidence to separate 'fake news' from mis-reporting - and how to respond to each

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Respond

Produce clear, compelling online content that corrects misinformation

Really engaging session on crisis communications today – thank you.

I’m now absolutely unflappable.

Government press officer

Preparation

One thing that’s almost guaranteed is that your organisation will be hit by fake news. How many of us actually make the time to prepare?

You can prepare for this, but it involves more than just drafting lines for rebutting rumours and inaccuracies.

Firstly, fighting fake news online isn’t the sole responsibility of media teams. Customer service and operations team need to contribute too.

We’ve been working with clients to empower call centres to pick up social media trends, risks and complaints, and flag them to the rest of the organisation.

Second, when fake news does hit, you’ll need to make it as simple as possible for people to read the truth online. That means knowing where your audience hang out online, and serving information that’s credible, clear and easy to navigate.

Our clients often have fantastic media and digital teams, but the customer journey to their website isn’t understood, and it can be difficult for customers to find the information and reassurance they need. We help them cut through the social media hype to discover and improve the way in which their messages are served to audiences.

Assessment

Knowing what type of fake news or misinformation you’re dealing with, is essential.

Busy social media teams have seconds to make quick, accurate judgements about whether a post is a hoax, a misunderstanding, or possibly genuine. The assessment process doesn’t have to be complicated, but those people applying it need to be confident.

The greatest barrier to sound assessment are individual’s own assumptions about the creator or source of social media content. By working with life-like but fictional scenarios, social media simulation can help take some of the heat out of decision-making, and encourage participants to exercise judgement more clearly. This is an essential experience for them to take in to real-life situations.

Doctored images are a staple of the inbound social media content our clients face on a daily basis. As are fake accounts, confused customers and less than amenable bloggers. We’ve fine-tuned a variety of approaches to fake news in simulations, to keep teams on top of their game.

 

Response

Fake news isn’t just a handy label for everything you can ignore online. Misinformation, fake social media accounts, doctored images and even clickbait will need to be responded to.

Responding need not be a lifetime’s work. Nor can it be. But it demands confident, quick team players. Those colleagues who are put in charge of managing social media engagement will need to feel empowered and have a clear sense of the organisation’s tone and messaging online.

Responding to fake news is a test of organisation skills and judgement: what can we say, what do we need to say and how should we say it?

Our clients tell us that responding to social media posts is the action they have to test and challenge the most, regardless of how experienced their team.

Remember: when it’s necessary to clarify misinformation or correct a false account, you’re doing this for the sake of your customers, shareholders and reputation. Responding to fake news goes way beyond ticking a box for social media.

Evaluation

When fake news causes problems for another company, it’s easy to be a back-seat driver and pick holes in their response – or lack of response.

Evaluating the performance of a team, their processes and the support they received internally must be done sensitively and guarantee some practical outcomes.

The learning points and data we gather from simulations helps to feed highlights of what’s being done well, as well as areas for improvement. We’ve helped clients work through the really complex steps, such as authenticating their online activity, equipping staff to better explain the decisions their company makes, or demonstrating the need for devolved sign-off.

Only be learning and doing can companies begin to plan for and mitigate against fake news.

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