We have all heard about this phrase before: Fake News. It has become enormously popularized over the past decade. We have, in many ways, experienced how fake news can cripple an entire political and social landscape. Disinformation is one of the emerging villains rearing its ugly head.
According to a 2018 report, disinformation has the propensity to distort democratic discourse, misrepresent elections, eliminate trust in institutions, dampen thorough journalism, and damage the reputation of individuals.
More often than not, people often mistake misinformation for disinformation. Albeit, there is a stark contrast between the two. While misinformation is falsified information published with zero ill intent, disinformation – on the other hand – is created and distributed to cause harm to affected persons.
While companies are currently dealing with ransomware attacks, we have published a comprehensive article on how cybersecurity threat protection can save your business money. Now, companies are the new targets of disinformation.
Most noticeably, election equipment makers: Dominion Voting Systems, and Smartmatic tied in to a disinformation scandal by conspiracy theorists involving the 2020 general elections in the US.
What is more interesting is that as companies and institutions put up defenses to tackle this menace, disinformants – like hackers – constantly innovate their motives, introducing new tactics and strategies to prevent detection or even recovery.
We shall be looking at the various vectors of disinformation below:
Bad news spreads faster, especially on social media. These actions cause it to take more complex, unpredictable, and harmful forms.
According to an MIT study, false news is 70% more likely to spread than factual information. The study also suggests that disinformation reaches 1,500 people six times faster than verified news. Also noticeable is that bots also spread real and fake news at the same rates. The study concludes by stating individuals as unsuspectingly amplifying such disinformation.
Technology has contributed to the massive successes recorded in the commercial and corporate industry. However, misinformants manipulate to spread disinformation, particularly in the area of deep fakes. This popularized technology can be used to trick audiences into believing a fake event or information. Due to its sophistication and effectiveness, it is difficult for users to distinguish between authentic events and deep fakes.
In a Forbes article, the number of deep fake videos available online at the beginning of 2019 was 7.964. Nine months later, the number grew to 14,678. This is an apparent problem.
Lack of Regulation
Disinformation typically thrives in conspiracy theories and ill-intent political discourses. More interesting is that there is no federal law barring the creation and spread of deep fakes and these theories.
Thus, creating the avenue for more effective disinformation to take place. Which brings us to the question: What is the endgame of corporate disinformation?
Disinformants spread false information as an avenue to siphon funds from unsuspecting companies. In 2019, bandits spoofed the voice of a German CEO using AI to demand the transfer of approximately $243,000 to a supplier in Hungary.
While this is the first noted example of AI used in a voice deep fake scam, it is already an indication that misinformation runs deeps.
Interruption of Competitiveness
Disinformation can also be used as a weapon to drive disruption into the competitive dynamics of affected businesses.
Back in 2015, a news story involving the fake takeover of Twitter for $31 billion trended online. Even though the report was published on a website pretending to be Bloomberg, Twitter’s shares spiked momentarily.
While news such as this affected Twitter in a positive light, it could be worse for others.
Disruption of Markets
Disinformation in the corporate industry creates chaos and disrupts the market. Fake information, made with ill intent, can create losses in the financial market.
Lack of Trust from Investors and Consumers
Disinformation can eliminate the brand trust consumers and juicy investors have in businesses. When investors or consumers read a report or see a deep fake video involving a company in a negative light, they will not want to associate with such establishments. It is that simple.
But what can you do to prevent disinformation from harming your business?
One of the effective ways to curb disinformation from crippling your business is to increase transparency. You can achieve this by issuing constant communique to keep your investors up to date with updates and operations – so that this information will not be weaponized later.
Hire Expert Minds
To remain relevant in the face of disinformation, you need to hire the best data analysts. These people will help access data pooled from several platforms and analyze them for a cognitive pattern.
These data curated and analyzed will help you design practical tools to tackle disinformation threats.
Since bad news spread faster, you may need to act faster if disinformation affects your business. One of the best ways to do that is to monitor human and artificial intelligence networks to identify harmful information that might shake up the landscape of your industry. Protecting your business from the ripple effects of disinformation should be a concern for business owners. And these practical solutions will help you in the long run.
Published by Marc Freedman
Marc currently serves as our Chief Cost Evaluator, expertly advising our client management team on how to help you successfully achieve your business and financial growth goals. A respected mentor to all he consults with, he is an avid collaborator and contributor to the spend consultant community, guiding thought leaders to formulate, design, and install the best operational solutions available to their clients.