"Научный аспект №1-2019" - Гуманитарные науки

Impact of fake news on brands

Муллина Елена Владиславовна – студент магистратуры кафедры Рекламы и связей с общественностью Российского экономического университета имени Г. В. Плеханова.

Фоминых Наталья Юрьевна – доктор педагогических наук, профессор кафедры Иностранных языков №1 Российского экономического университета имени Г. В. Плеханова.

Аннотация: В статье предпринята попытка оценки влияния фейковых новостей на доверие потребителей к бренду. Раскрывается содержание понятия «фейковая новость». Воздействие «фейковых новостей» проиллюстрировано конкретными примерами из российской и зарубежной практики, а также обозначены основные направления по сокращению финансовых и репутационных рисков.

Abstract: The article attempts to assess the impact of fake news on consumer confidence in the brand. The content of the concept "fake news"is revealed. The impact of "fake news" is illustrated by specific examples from Russian and foreign practice, as well as the main directions to reduce financial and reputational risks.

Ключевые слова: Фейковые новости, бренд, репутационные риски, социальные сети, СМИ.

Keywords: Fake news, brand, reputational risks, social networks, mass media.

In an era of total dominance of propaganda and manipulation in the media, the problem of fake news is becoming increasingly important. Two years ago the phenomenon of fake news in most cases was considered within the framework of political activity as a result of the high-profile presidential race in the United States in 2016. Today, falsehood is becoming a serious threat not only for politicians, but also for business.

Stanford University gives the following definition of “fake news”: “news articles whose meaning is deliberately distorted in order to mislead readers” . Based on this definition, we can draw the following conclusion: fake news are created in order to manipulate people's minds.

The possibility of creating this kind of materials has existed since the inception of the printing press, but the development of digital technology has facilitated and accelerated the exchange of information. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of technology, after analyzing the records of 3 million Twitter users, concluded that fake information on social networks spreads faster than real news.

In mid-June 2017, the number of Facebook accounts reached two billion. A study conducted by the analytical center Pew Research Center in August 2017 showed that 67% of respondents use this social network as a source of news. This is critical, because according to analysts of the Agency Statista, 42% of fake news in 2017 were created and distributed through social networks. At the same time, people themselves contribute spreading fake news, without meaning to. Publications, gaining a large number of interactions, in most popular social networks fall into the section “Popular” or “Trends”, receiving even greater response from the audience.

Furthermore, we cannot fail to emphasize the effect of the “social bubble”, which was proved by scientists from the University of Indiana. Its essence is that people who receive information from social media consume monotonous content and become intellectually isolated in their own information bubble. Thus, the tape in the social network of the user turns into an effective means of distribution of fake materials. However, required on account of the abundance of information sources, nowadays allows you to establish the authenticity of a particular material, people often do not have time to read even the text itself, and the picture of the day is automatically made up of the headlines seen by the user.

If initially fake news were distributed in the political environment, today the target is business. At the end of November 2016, the shares of a large French construction company Vinci SA immediately fell by a maximum of 20% after several major financial media published fake news about the dismissal of the Director of the company due to alleged errors in the financial statements. Despite the fact that the company promptly published a retraction, by the end of the trading session it was not able to restore the value of shares to the initial level.

In a similar situation in October 2018 was the largest Russian IT-company “Yandex”, the share price of which in a few minutes decreased by 8% against the background of the publication in “Vedomosti” about the possible purchase of a large share of the company “Sberbank”. The statement of the head of Sberbank German Gref, in which he denied the information that appeared in the media, did not save from the further fall of the Yandex stock.

Thus, fake news today is a threat that can cause enormous damage to the financial and reputation component of the brand in the shortest possible time. Effective reputation risk management begins with the recognition that reputation is a matter of perception. The reputation depends on the positioning of the company.

Today, the presence of the brand in social networks has become an excellent way to increase its recognition and popularization of products, including services. Previously, social networks served as a source of high traffic for brands to the site, but today this concept does not work anymore. Over the past couple of years, social networks have transformed into a platform for interaction with people, as evidenced by the data of the Sprout Social report. Customers, existing and potential, want to get their answers to questions in real time. According to the survey, 48% of users can be persuaded to purchase by responding quickly to questions on the brand page, 42% are considering purchasing the company's products if the page in its social network presents usefull content. Half of the respondents said that they would unsubscribe from the brand page containing annoying content, and 23% would refuse to buy products of this brand. That is why, in order to prevent reputational and financial risks, it is important for brands to publish relevant and interesting materials and appropriately to the emergence of false information that discredits the reputation of the brand. Responsiveness will help to ensure a quality internal monitoring system that monitors the information field of your company.

Another way to prevent reputational risks is to develop your own media, that in the case of fake news distribution you can quickly react on your own website and in official accounts in social networks. Brand page should be well lnown and easily identifiable.

To sum up, we can considered that fake news can cause reputational and financial damage. If fake news are quickly refuted, they will cause relatively small reputational damage, but the achievement of the previous level of quotations will take more time.


  1. Allcott, H. and Gentzkow, M. (2017). Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. Journal of Economic Perspectives, [online] 31(2), p.213.
  2. Fake news traffic sources in the U.S. 2017 [Distribution of traffic sources for fake news in the United States in 2017]. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/672275/fake-news-traffic-source.
  3. Nikolov D, Oliveira DFM, Flammini A, Menczer F. 2015. Measuring online social bubbles. PeerJ Computer Science 1:e38.
  4. Soroush Vosoughi , Deb Roy, Sinan Aral, [The spread of true and false news online]. Available at: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146.
  5. Shearer. E and Gottfried J. [News use across Social Media Platforms 2017]. Available at: http://www.journalism.org/2017/09/07/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2017.
  6. The Sprout Social Index [Consumers Aren’t Looking to Buy From Brands That Are “Cool” on Social]. Available at: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/q2-2017.

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