Why and how video poses new PR risks

The undercover videos of Planned Parenthood are underlining what other organizations and governments have learned: YouTube and social media have changed the game.

From a targeted organization’s viewpoint, it’s a nightmare come true. From their critics’ perspective, it’s a whole new world of opportunity.

The secret video-recording of Planned Parenthood by an anti-abortion group illuminates a new public relations battlefield that involves organizations ranging from corporations to governments.

Whether a company runs hog farms in Virginia, drills for oil in the Amazon, or sells fluffy sweaters from China, many have critics who would love to take them down—or at least change their ways. Meanwhile, for activists seeking to expose alleged misbehavior, the opportunities have never been greater.

Such efforts got a boost this week when a federal judge ruled that an Idaho law making it illegal to shoot secret video of animal abuse at agricultural facilities violates the right to free speech.

In a new era when internal secrets can be exposed in viral undercover videos, every organization should assess the risks, says Nicholas F. Peters, senior vice president of CommCore Consulting Group.

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