There’s a photo circulating around Facebook this week about an equestrian center at a resort in Pennsylvania that is adopting out horses because they’re closing. The flyer in the photo states that horses that aren’t spoken for will be euthanized.
Sad………and false. But that hasn’t stopped it from going viral. The horses are for sale/adoption, but will be found good homes -where the euthanasia rumor started – nobody knows – but it’s impact on the resort could be significant.
In the age of the internet, we have become absorbers of news that is, in reality, mostly false. Newspapers and tv news was, at one point prior to the internet, at least moderately fact checked before it was reported. Now it’s a “break the news first, figure out if it’s real later” mentality.
The problem is, many businesses suffer nearly irreparable reputation damage when these false claims circulate the web. The nature of something going viral nearly overwhelms any attempt to get the correct information out.
- Get to the source and give them the right info – hopefully they can help you spread the correct information.
- Reach out to big influencers – if they spread the bad information, kindly inform them it was false and ask for their help to get the right information out.
- Write a press release about the truth, combat the false info within the release and get it out as soon as possible.
- Fight fire with fire – post the CORRECT info on Facebook and find every instance of false info you can and post the truth from your official Facebook handle. Point at the press release or the correct info on your own website/Facebook page.
- Try to get to the source and either set them straight or expose them.
- Reach out to local media and national media if you can. The best way to hit national media is via Twitter and Facebook. If you tweet @TodayShow or @MSNBC you will get a response MUCH quicker than if you just email or call them. Use social media to your advantage to fight misinformation.
You can also go to your local news outlet or your local chamber of commerce or Convention & Visitors Bureau to ask for help. If you belong to any professional associations, ask them to help you get the world out as well.
Here’s the kicker – with social media the truth can come out as well….so above all, don’t let the rumors you’re trying to combat be true.