Fake news is bad enough in the best of times, but in the face of a global pandemic it can be downright deadly. Yet it seems that is exactly what is being done in regard to the COVID-19 crisis; many fear that fake news is being weaponised in a new and dangerous way.
As the true scope of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent, fake news stories surrounding the virus and the government response began to take shape. These fake news stories took many forms, from promises of phoney cures and unproven treatments to fears of an eventual vaccine to twisted and sensationalised headlines designed to provoke outrage instead of spreading real information.
In other cases, fake news is used as a weapon, one whose sights can be turned on local politicians, major brands, and individual people. Sometimes these fake news stories are planted by the competition in an attempt to sow confusion and spread fear. Other times the weaponisation is overtly political, designed to unseat political incumbents and give an edge to their competitors. But no matter what form it takes, fake news in the face of a global health crisis is truly dangerous, and the people of Nigeria must do everything they can to stamp it out.
For VIPs and decision-makers around Nigeria, the fallout from fake news can be even more acute. A busy executive working hard to preserve their company in the face of a global crisis might find themselves fighting fake news stories instead, taking away precious time that could be spent more productively.
While some people seek the limelight, for most business owners, finding themselves on the front page of the local newspaper or the lead story on a website is not something to be welcomed. Those who find themselves on the wrong side of a fake news story face some hard choices, from letting the news cycle pass to proactively trying to set the record straight.
Both approaches have their risks and opportunities. Trying to prove such a charge false can be an exercise in frustration, as some may try to twist anything you say against you and others simply dig in and believe the phoney charges even more. At the same time, simply saying nothing can seem like an admission of guilt, with devastating consequences for the brand or business involved.
Hopefully you will never find yourself in such a situation, but if you do you cannot afford to go it alone. If you are victimised by the weaponisation of fake news, you need professional help and you need it right away. Massive’s proven strategy combats the scourge of fake news, helping you preserve your hard-won reputation.