Whitehaven regained most of its losses once authorities straightened out the hoax, but that incident—and others like it—highlights the power of a fake press release.
Today, April Fools’ Day, is a holiday that practically celebrates fake releases, which means the companies that distribute them are on alert.
“In addition to our normal vetting process, we are extra cautious and our editorial staff is instructed to be on high alert for parody or joke releases,” a spokesperson for PR Newswire said. “We also guide our editorial team to escalate any questionable releases to higher supervision.”
The company has said that it receives numerous “prank” press releases on April 1.
“After enjoying a laugh while reading them (some are really funny!) we have to say no to sending them out over the wire,” Brett Simon, a national manager of media relations for PR Newswire, said in a blog post last year.
Both Marketwire and Vocus, which owns the press release distribution service PRWeb, told PR Daily that their usual precautions and review processes will ensure hoaxes don’t hit the wire.