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How Your Company Can Fight Misinformation on Social Media

Originally posted on inc.

Tips from experts leading the battle against online falsehoods

Organizations worldwide use social media platforms to connect with their audiences in a more relatable, reachable way. But, as effective a tool as it is for business growth, social media is also a breeding ground for information to be misinterpreted, altered, or deleted altogether.

Social media has become one of the most important ways people keep track of family members, friends, and the brands they care about the most. Twitter, Instagram, and, of course, TikTok are some of the many platforms we frequent to consume tons of information–even more so than traditional news outlets. In fact, 71% of Millennials and Gen Z get news from social media platforms at least daily and 91% at least weekly. Unfortunately, anyone who turns to social media feeds for information is susceptible to being led astray by various forms of misinformation–fake news, opinion pieces, or plain propaganda.

Deliberately misinformed stories can bring numerous consequences if not dealt with properly, but it may take a little more than verifying the source. New solutions are needed for this evolving issue as technology becomes more sophisticated. It’s essential for social media giants like Twitter to keep misinformation at bay online as well as for business leaders who need strategies to publicize real, factual information about their companies and to protect their consumers.

Looking for a strategy to fight misinformation for your business? Here are three tips from businesses leading the fight against inaccuracies on social media.

Educate Others

Combating misinformation and changing people’s minds is a difficult task. In some cases, it can have the opposite effect and cause people to double down on their belief in the wrong thing–often called the “backfire effect.” This was seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, where the rise of misinformation resulted in vaccine hesitancy, conspiracy theories about the pandemic, alternative treatments like bleach consumption, and resistance to masks and other public health policies. Governments nationwide saw decreases in vaccinations, but the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) sought the help of Identika, an INC. 5000 communications agency, to boost the importance of vaccines for health, especially in adolescents.

The result was a successful statewide multi-year campaign for the VDH to encourage citizens to vaccinate against multiple diseases and counter strategies to fight widespread misinformation. Not only did they provide accurate information through social and traditional media channels, but they also raised health awareness and education among minorities and underserved communities through outreach events, a bilingual one-stop-shop vaccination landing website, and more. Highlighting the facts through multiple channels offers more resources for consumers to compare their knowledge and see how their perspective could be wrong and harmful.

Secure Your Company

Misinformation doesn’t just affect social platforms and consumers; companies also have to worry about cyber attackers using misinformation tactics to threaten their businesses’ infrastructure and target their clients. Your company’s brand is your reputation, and incorrect or inconsistent information about your business can cause a lack of trust and negatively impact your customer relationships. Companies should invest in cybersecurity to protect themselves from cyber threats and enhance their brand’s reputation. While most think of cybersecurity only in regard to firewalls and protecting network access, IT providers like Calian are helping businesses understand how social media plays a part in company cybersafety.

Calian’s quarterly Cybersecurity Assessment reviews organizations’ security posture from top to bottom, including their social media channels, operational security controls, and procedures to combat any misinformation and external threats. For a more in-depth analysis, the Vulnerability Assessments, Ransomware Simulations & Penetration Testing involve an ethical hacker who fully scrutinizes your environment while attempting to breach data–a seemingly extensive method, but necessary to gain insight on how to stay in favor with consumers.

Beware of Fraud and Synthetic Identities

Misinformation affects every industry and its consumers, especially the financial sector. Currently, social platforms are hotbeds for fraud rings and even provide resources that show fraudsters how easy it is to create fake identities. In addition, it’s easier than ever to create a fake Instagram or Facebook account to aid a fraudster’s agenda in applying for a credit card or loan under a fictitious (or “synthetic”) identity. That’s why it’s so critical to have companies like Inscribe dedicate their services to fraud detection and document automation. With the help of AI and machine learning, fintechs are able to check application documents for manipulation and verify the information within bank statements, utility bills, and pay stubs to uncover synthetic identities and prevent cybercriminals from accessing financial products.

Inscribe’s technology helps fintechs and financial services organizations automate their manual reviews and increase decision accuracy, so it is easier to combat emerging fraudulent activity like Synthetic Identity Fraud–where criminals use a combination of fabricated credentials to fraudulently obtain access to funds. Fraudsters may create synthetic identities by combining valid credentials with false personally identifiable information. By implementing Know Your Customer (KYC) business practices on social media platforms, companies can prevent fraudulent activities, increase user safety, and have 2-way verification between a client and user, especially for gig economy businesses.

While there is still a healthy mix of traditional and digital media news consumption, fake news and misinformation are still prevalent in our society today. When it comes to fighting back against fake news, it’s essential to help others. In tandem with the methods listed above, you can take personal action to prevent your own consumption of misinformation. Report pages and users who spread misinformation, warn others about the dangers of fraudulent information, and debunk myths with well-researched facts. The less fake news available online, the more businesses and consumers alike can stay safe and prosper.

Source: inc.

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