One subject has dominated the media and cultural agenda for some time now: Fake News. Rising to prominence during the US presidential elections, Fake News has - according to some media commentators and experts - played a significant role in destabilising and discrediting Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, garnering massive traction within social media, driven by users sharing, liking and engaging with sensationalist articles. The effect that these articles had on the election resulted in Facebook announcing future improvements across how the social network aggregates and presents news, while also strengthening ties with news brands and publishers that are highly credible.
Despite these responsibility commitments from platforms like Facebook, Fake News is not going anywhere in 2017. Why? It is of course a lucrative business that drives traffic to websites and ultimately boosts advertising revenue. It also doesn't help that the most powerful leader in the free world is continually denouncing media outlets as Fake News if they are remotely objective. There is of course a delicious irony at play here: several of his statements and that of his staff have been confirmed as false, so de-facto Fake News.
What does this mean to the communications industry? Well, I believe that it represents a huge opportunity in terms of news generation and media relations. In a post-truth, Fake News environment, generating credible earned media will be even more important for communications professionals. The PR industry has a responsibility to ensure that the content they release on behalf of clients, brands and individuals is distributed to credible and trusted outlets. It also places an emphasis on quality rather than quantity in terms of generating press articles.
What's the antidote to Fake News for the PR industry? Expert media relations that delivers earned media through credible news brands.