04 September 14:39

Is Fake News The Biggest Challenge For Digital Media?

Fake news — it’s everywhere. And it could be one of the biggest problems facing online content.

By Mediaplanet Creative Team

From inaccurate info that hasn’t been fact-checked to misleading stories and outright lies, the internet has a growing amount of questionable content. So what does this mean for digital media, and what are the biggest challenges?

Challenges In The Digital Landscape

Some of the difficulties that brands face online are the same ones we all struggle with. We don’t always know what’s real. We don’t always know who to believe. And we don’t always know what’s been vetted and what’s just something that’s been repeated from some dark recess of the net.

This can make it hard for people to agree on basic facts — some say the sky is blue, some say it’s raining — and it can make it difficult for brands to establish trust and accomplish their goals.

On social media, digital media outlets see their posts outperformed by players who bend the truth or share fake news in an effort to get page views and shares. Meanwhile, followers of honest brands point out errors both in their content and in the way that they handle themselves.

Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

So what to do? First, the best cure for fake news is real news. Even if you don’t consider yourself a publisher, it’s helpful to uphold the basic mission of journalism. This means offering high-quality content that’s truth-seeking, has an objective, balanced viewpoint and shows multiple sides to a story. And while you probably don’t need a fully staffed editorial room, fact checking and vetting information is essential.

Almost as important as good content is the way that brands represent themselves on social media. Sitting back and hoping problems go away no longer works. Instead, brands should take an active approach. Start by watching how your brand is perceived on social media and put your best face forward.

If someone calls out your brand, don’t ignore them. One negative post could be shared by others and eventually become a big headache. Rather, be transparent and try to find a safe environment where you can admit your errors. This is especially important because some big platforms can be slow to kill fake news.

One thing that brands don’t think enough about is which channels they present themselves on. The internet isn’t created equal. Some parts are low-trust and others are as credible as traditional offline media used to be. But even if your content has integrity, putting it on a low-trust channel can reflect badly on you since people won’t know whether to trust it over other less reliable voices.

Finally, remember that on social media, your content is a starting point for conversation. What will that conversation be? Hope will you help shape it?

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