Social networks: the fake news as a weapon of mass destruction of online reputation

Things you need to know about online reputation management

In the digital age, rumors and defamation intertwine to take on the finery of fake news. The latter spreads by ignoring borders and has become a major concern for everyone. How to deal with what looks like a digital epidemic and cure its e-reputation?

Vilified in the Bible, rumor is as old as humanity. Some psychologists consider it as the dark and unconscious counterpart of our polished social self. Its power of nuisance is all the more formidable because, quick to deploy and not revealing its origin, it has most of the time no rational basis. In the digital age, rumors and defamation intertwine to take on the finery of fake news. A weapon of massive manipulation, this one emanates from anonymous sources, be it occult groups, the fachosphere or intelligence coming from foreign governments. Sneaky, she uses digital tools to disguise herself in media and better deceive her readers. This phenomenon is all the more worrying as younger generations, with a lack of print media and traditional media, prefer social networks to communicate and learn.

A virus that spreads and damages

Like a bacteriological weapon, the fake news spreads by ignoring borders. Like the rumor, she takes advantage of the emotion she arouses to inhibit rational thinking. She traces her way to the reptilian brain, the receptacle of our ancestral fears. Buzz requires, it relies on subscribers to social networks and their credulity to relay “information.It thus acquires in a short time a phenomenal audience and power.Thanks to the irony, thanks to this traffic multiplied, the fake News is one of the most popular articles, which has been used by Google’s search engines and digital assistants, which has only served to reinforce its perceived credibility. fake news has become a major concern at the highest level, and last April, Germany adopted a bill to punish lax social networks on the subject. 50 million euros in case of late action following reports The German government goes so far as to describe the fake news as “hate crime which represents a great threat to coexis peace in a free, open and democratic society “.

Fake News: the riposte

Social networks have a primary responsibility in spreading fake news. At Facebook’s last general meeting, equity investment funds emphasized the need for the platform to take urgent action to stop the “epidemic”. Following these pressures, the social network has finally taken the necessary measures. Facebook now allows its users to report an info that seems false to them. After a positive control, the information is marked with a pictogram that refers to the corrective item. At the end of April, Facebook suspended 30,000 identified accounts as a source of fake news. If the manager of a page does not respect the rules, the platform can even forbid him access. This responsibility is encouraging. It gives hope for a positive outcome to this plague.

The importance of the human factor in discerning the true from the false

Artificial Intelligence and algorithms are powerless to sort. That’s why Google, in collaboration with student journalists, has put in place an anti-addiction device called “Collect, Trust, Check”. The latter makes it possible to check, and thus limit, the distribution of fake news. The general public can also exercise this watch, thanks to a dedicated platform. For its part, the French press has also reacted. Le Monde has created the Decodex which allows to report false information or to verify the veracity of another. The DĂ©codex also offers a list of sites that are unreliable and that propagate false information. LibĂ©ration and Les Echos have also developed their tools, respectively entitled Detox and True-False.

Fake News and e-reputation

Are companies spared by fake news? Maybe not for long. In the era of social networks, organizations are no longer the only information providers. Anyone can spread information about their representatives, products or services. As a favored source of bad buzz, the fake news is an ultimate weapon to damage the reputation of an entity or a natural or legal person. It therefore represents a potential danger for companies or organizations. Spread intentionally by a competitor, it can be a weapon of mass destruction. Even if, after the fact, the information is proven wrong, the reputation is compromised and the damage is irremediable, especially for companies listed on the stock exchange.

Destabilizing tool that does not say its name, the fake news is dangerous. Digital actors and the media have responded. They took the appropriate steps to maintain their credibility and help users sort through. Now it is important that companies, too, take the dimension of the problem, before the danger materializes. They must surround themselves with competent partners to anticipate problems and manage them … before it is too late.