How to quash fake news with a crisis communications plan

You can’t prevent false allegations, but you can douse the firestorm by responding quickly, keeping colleagues on the same page and enlisting your community to help.

Doing business online, you expect the occasional negative review or snarky social media swipe from a competitor.

Few anticipate waking up to a firestorm of false allegations, yet that’s exactly what happened to Comet Ping Pong late last year. Rumors spread online that the pizzeria was a front for a child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John Podesta.

When the owner and his employees began taking the heat, he discovered dozens of fabricated articles online about Mrs. Clinton’s purportedly orchestrating the kidnapping, molesting and trafficking of children in the restaurant’s back rooms. The rumors continued; eventually an armed man showed up at the place of business.

Of course, none of the allegations was true.

Although this is an extreme case of fake news gone viral, it raises the question: What if you or your company becomes a fake news target? Do you have a crisis communications strategy in place to fend it off?

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.