Talk # 11 - Fake News, the next plague; How can businesses cope?

Talk #11 - Fake News, the next plague; How can businesses cope?

This was the theme of Talk # 11 organized on December 10 by the European newsroom publisher Epresspackand the association of communication professionals COM-ENT.

How can brands protect themselves against fake news? what are the right reflexes to adopt? Are there effective solutions?

Grégoire Lemarchand, editor-in-chief of digital investigation at AFP, and Nicolas Boudot, Director of communications and external relations of the Casino group, examined this reputational risk and tried to define a best-practice for both companies and journalists.

Disasters, terrorist attacks, epidemics ... we know, crises are conducive to the dissemination of "fake news" and that of Covid did not escape the rule. And if the motivations vary between the will to harm, to disseminate conspiracy theories or by simple lack of verification, 1 in 4 links could already be fake news on social networks during the presidential election in 2017 (source: Bamako study). You should also know that fake news are 70% more likely to be retweeted than verified information and that it would spread 6 times faster (source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Photomontages, fake press releases, deep fakes ... misinformation affects public organizations as well as companies and damages their reputation and even their financial value.

As of December 2019, the cost of fake news was estimated at $ 78 billion worldwide (source: CHEQ and the University of Baltimore -.) Certainly, the rumor phenomenon is not new, but it has taken on even more importance with the rise of technological innovations, the fragmentation of audiences and more broadly generalized mistrust, economic tensions and the heightened awareness of the power of influence. Some observers even speak of a new cold war. Rumors are inherent in the life of information, but the speed and fragmentation of audiences aggravate the phenomenon, which can undermine a business reputation says Nicolas Boudot, Director of Communications and External Relations at the Casino group. Fake news question the relationship of trust between communication managers and professionals and journalists. They attack the Information-Communication couple they form. Faced with the rumor relayed by the journalistic sphere, which protects its sources based on "I have been told that", only the trust established between the parties constitutes, according to him, a firewall. It is against this pre-established trust, not fooled by the respective information and communication biases, that the company will protect itself. 

Grégoire Lemarchand, editor-in-chief of the digital investigation at AFP, which manages nearly 100 journalists on 5 continents in 18 languages ​​against disinformation, notes that it takes very few means today to disinform. Sometimes outdated information may be enough! Faced with hoaxes, click traps that feed on programmatic advertising that he specifically denounces or willful disinformation, any silence on the part of the company will be interpreted, according to him, as an admission of guilt. The sooner the company deals with the rumor, the better it will be contained. Among the other recommended solutions, the journalist also warns against "offsets" which are no longer an appropriate response according to him, in front of the need for more richly documented and sourced papers. And to stress the importance of third-party sources, so that the company's claims aren't mere denials and the articles unstoppable.And if the communicator questions the journalistic logic and the intrinsic mechanics of press articles which value rumor beyond measure, both agree in considering the use of technological tools as essential. Whether it is blockchain for Nicolas Boudot, who considers technology as a short or medium-term protection solution for his group or open-source intelligence for Grégoire Lemarchand, human treatment will nevertheless remain a guarantee for both of them, both in terms of media and viral monitoring of companies looking for weak signals than journalism, necessarily in the field whose mission is to stay closest to the truth.

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About Epresspack

European publisher of digital newsrooms, Epresspack's ambition is to offer the best of technology and design at the service of the reputation of brands and companies. The content management platforms designed by Epresspack are proprietary and 100% European tools that bring together all of the communication functions in one place: create, distribute, certify and archive content in the most innovative formats, to help brands and companies to think of themselves as a medium. Some 300 major brands and international companies (40% CAC 40) have entrusted it with hosting and managing their content in the service of their public relations and influencer marketing. Among them, the Accor Group, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Elsan, Novo Nordisk, ADP, Audi, Dyson, Bouygues, BPI France, Dove, Hermès, Kering, ING direct, Manpower Group, Mediawan, SNCF, Taittinger, Vinci, Louis Vuitton or still Vivatech. Founded by Antoun Sfeir, CEO, this tech player in the communication sector brings together 50 employees in Paris, London, Milan and Madrid.