Oct 27, 2023 / by Antony Cousins

According to the 2023 State of the Media Report, “maintaining credibility as a trusted news source and combating accusations of ‘fake news’” was the biggest challenge for the media last year. Additionally, “battling misinformation” was among the top three personal struggles for journalists. 

In an era of rapidly spreading information, fueled by the internet and social media, the battle against misinformation has become a critical concern for not just the media, but individuals, organizations, and society at large. While the responsibility to combat misinformation often falls on governments and media outlets, brands – and the PR and comms teams behind them – play a pivotal role in this fight, as well.


The Rise of Misinformation

Misinformation is not a new phenomenon, but the digital age has amplified its impact. False information, rumors, and conspiracy theories can now spread like wildfire, reaching millions of people within seconds. Brands are not passive entities in the information ecosystem; they are active participants. They produce content, engage with customers, and influence public opinion. As such, they have a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure the information they disseminate is accurate and reliable. They can also be victims of misinformation as well, which amplifies the stakes and provides added incentive take a leading role in battling fake news and other potentially harmful content.


The Importance of Combatting Misinformation

  • Protecting Brand Reputation: Misinformation can damage a brand's reputation. False claims against a brand or association with misleading information can lead to public distrust in a brand, which can be challenging to recover from. Taking a proactive stance against misinformation helps safeguard a brand's integrity. (More on this in the section below.)
  • Maintaining Audience Trust: Trust is a fundamental currency in the business world. Brands need to both work to protect themselves against misinformation or “fake news” that can damage that trust, as well as take a stand against misinformation. Customers are more likely to engage with, support and advocate for brands they perceive as reliable sources of information.


How Brands Can Battle Misinformation

No one individual or brand is helpless to stop the spread of misinformation. Here are a few ways to actively stop or slow its spread and eliminate or mitigate any potential harm.

  • Fact-Check and Verify Information: Before sharing or endorsing any information, brands should verify its accuracy. This involves cross-referencing sources and using reputable fact-checking organizations to ensure that information is credible.


One way Cision is actively helping brands battle misinformation is through Risk Score, a feature of our comprehensive CisionOne platform. Risk Score uses natural language processing (NLP) technology, a version of AI, to identify fake news, hate speech, racism and other harmful language – including mis- or disinformation – across social media and other platforms. With the advanced ability to identify content that might be misleading in real time, brands can act quickly to correct such content and redirect the narrative.

Misinformation is a pervasive issue today, and brands can no longer remain passive observers. They must actively engage in the battle against misinformation to protect their reputation, uphold corporate social responsibility, and maintain the trust of their customers.

To find out more about how leading PR and comms teams partner with Cision to identify content that can impact their brands, schedule time to speak with an expert today or take a tour of our new, all-in-one, AI-powered platform, CisionOne.

About Antony Cousins

Antony spent a decade in artificial intelligence technology leadership roles, including serving as the CEO of Factmata, an AI marketing technology company focused on identifying fake news and other forms of harmful online content. In the newly created role of Executive Director for AI Strategy, he will be responsible for advancing Cision's AI strategy. This agenda includes rapidly integrating Factmata's technologies for detecting harmful online content and narrative monitoring into Cision's new products and platforms. He will also oversee the development of powerful generative text–driven solutions with the reliability that corporate, government and agency communications teams demand, and will ensure that Cision continues to develop AI solutions responsibly and ethically, ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks emerging in the US, UK, Europe and beyond