media budget
Category: Insight, Ronn Torossian

Spending Media Budgets to Defund Disinformation

According to Dictionary.com, disinformation can be defined as ‘deliberately misleading or biased information.’ Now more than ever, businesses face challenges in keeping  up with the ever-shifting landscape of harmful content online. Many businesses have been public about their worries regarding disinformation and how it affects our society.

They are looking for solutions and many brands have introduced publishing and advertising policies to restrict what ads can run on their networks. The pandemic has somehow been conducive to disbelief in COVID-19 cures and climate change deniers. Advertising funds narratives that shape lives. Hence, advertisers should deliberately choose to invest in quality media and actively ensure that they defund media that promote vicious narratives.

The debate around masks is an example of the way algorithms can warp views of what’s happening. Trending articles and videos that go viral do not feature people who are perfectly comfortable wearing masks.

What we largely get to see are people throwing temper tantrums in Costco.

These people get rewarded with likes and clicks for antagonistic behaviors. If a fringe movement is paraded as a mainstream one, ironically, it becomes just that. Spreading anti-maskers’ arguments risks spreading the arguments to even more people who might have a similar view.

Businesses have been affected by the spread of disinformation in the past. For instance in 2017, a person on the online anonymous board 4Chan, said he wanted to cause pain to a ‘liberal place’, and created a campaign against Starbucks.

He posted bogus tweets that advertised ‘Dreamer Day’– the day when the coffee chain would supposedly give out free drinks to undocumented immigrants. The company had to move quickly to counter seemingly legitimate social media advertisements that included the hashtag ‘#borderfreecoffee’ and had the company’s logo and signature fonts.

To avoid such well-calibrated cons, several brands have already pulled their ads from sites containing fake news and hate speech. Google and Facebook have both taken a stand against fake news. Google has banned 200 publishers from its AdSense network for spreading misinformation. Facebook has adjusted its algorithms to give fake stories less prominence in users’ feeds.

To overcome threats posed by disinformation, a company needs communications and litigation strategies. A business needs to be ready to promptly respond to incidents online, through the press, and even in the courtrooms.

Companies should plan for these events in advance, assign roles and responsibilities to employers, and conduct simulations like the ones they run for cybersecurity breaches.

Businesses also need to be aware of what is being propagated about them online, and should communicate regularly with customers in order to build confidence. The customers should know whom to trust in the face of disinformation.

According to Dictionary.com, disinformation can be defined as ‘deliberately misleading or biased information.’ Now more than ever, businesses face challenges in keeping  up with the ever-shifting landscape of harmful content online. Many businesses have been public about their worries regarding disinformation and how it affects our society. They are looking for solutions and many brands have introduced publishing and advertising policies to restrict what ads can run on their networks. The pandemic has somehow been conducive to disbelief in COVID-19 cures and climate change deniers. Advertising funds narratives that…