Posted By

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for the media to hit back following President Trump’s accusation that a broad spectrum of the media creates “fake news”. Channel 4’s Fake News Week, which has seen a series of programmes broadcast this week – including The Fake News Show and Confession of the Paparazzi – highlights how, if you really want to, you can find ‘alternative facts’ to suit your purpose. The tongue-in-cheek approach is undoubtedly a subtle two fingers up to the newly-appointed President, and it’s certainly got everyone talking!

We love the fact that Channel 4 has tackled the claim head on and responded with a campaign that, as the advert says, gives “the facts about fake news, from the people who bring you real news”.

According to Channel 4’s YouGov survey, only four per cent of the public can distinguish fake news from truth. That’s hardly a surprise, given the amount of fake news available, which is so easily spread across social media. For many people, Facebook or Twitter is their go-to platform for keeping up to date with current affairs. Indeed, social media is becoming the place to break news, a la Beyoncé’s Insta-announcement of her pregnancy.

Scarily, apparently 71 per cent of those who admitted that they read most of their ‘news’ on Facebook thought at least one fake news story was real. But, let’s be honest, how many of you believed that Harambe, got over 15,000 votes for President of the United States?

And Channel 4 isn’t the only one standing up to fake news; the BBC has set up a team to debunk fake news. Its news and current affairs editor James Harding reportedly told staff, “the BBC can’t edit the internet, but we won’t stand aside either”. It’s even set up an online ‘Can you spot the fake news?’ quiz (which, by the way is harder than you might think…give it a go for yourself!).

I can’t lie, there have been a few occasions that the lines between real and fake news have been blurred for me. I was convinced that the effect of Brexit on the price of Marmite was almost certainly a satirical Daily Mash article, only to discover that it was genuine news, courtesy of reputable sources!

So, what can you take from this..

1.Read around

Don’t take everything you read as gospel! Even when it comes to real news there’s always a different perspective, so the more newspapers, magazines and blogs you read, the more rounded a picture you’ll get – and then you can make an informed opinion. And it’s easier than ever with free news apps and blogs available at the touch of a button.

2.You should never underestimate the power of social media

Anyone can post pretty much anything they want (within reason) on social media. With very little policing of what’s shared, it’s difficult to know what’s true and what’s not. Clickbait is abundant, and the far-reaching scope of social media means that it has the ability to create worldwide Chinese whispers. That’s why it’s so important to refer to point one – read around before sharing anything.

It’s also really important to remember that your brand’s online presence exists regardless of whether you’re active on social media or not, so it’s best to take control and manage your online persona effectively.

3. It’s more important than ever to protect your brand

Anyone or anything can be the victim of fake news. You can’t stop people starting fake rumours, but you can control what you say about yourself. It’s crucial to protect your brand by making sure you’re identity is defined and your messages are clear. You just need to know how to get the message out there, far and wide!

So, in the fight against fake news, be like Channel 4 – take the bull by the horns, and assert yourself and what you stand for!

Interested in sharing your REAL news far and wide? Or do you need to better manage your social media presence? Give us a call on 0161 941 4252 or drop us a line on [email protected] to find out how we can help.