Tips For MicroCap IR Teams To Maintain Credibility Amid Fake News
The article highlights a number of recent cases where the SEC has investigated authors publishing news in which they lie about their credentials, identity, or relationship with issuers.
“Fake news has been around forever,” says Gabriel Kahn, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California who served as the Los Angeles bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal. “What’s different now is that social media platforms grease the skids and give it more potency. There is a battle to control the narrative, and from an IR perspective, it comes down to transparency to dope out the fictional narrative.”
The article share some tips for microcap IR teams to maintain credibility amid fake news including;
– Look for clues – The SEC recommends attempting to identify the underlying source of the content by looking for slight variations or typos in the author’s account name, profile, email address, screen name or handle, and other signs that the writer of fictional narratives may be an impostor.
– Know what sources to worry about – Not all media outlets carry the same influence. It is not worth stressing about outlets that carry little influence in swaying public opinion.
– Move quickly – Fake news that can have damaging consequences to stock price executives’ reputations, etc. should prompt some form of a response from a company. In the article, Katie Creaser, senior vice president with Affect, a public relations and social media agency in New York said “If a house is set on fire, you want to put water on the fire as soon as possible.”
– Pick the right medium – Press releases, Tweets, and Facebook posts all have different effects on how messages are received. A response needs to cover enough ground to ensure it fixes the problem and serves as a guidepost for future public consumption. In the article, Richard Levick, chairman and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Levick, a communications consultancy says; “A lot of digital people say you should respond in the medium with which you were attacked, but that’s not necessarily true.”
– Prime the pump – Investor relations websites, press rooms, and Twitter and Facebook accounts are important domains for companies to inform investors, customers, and employees. If a rumor breaks about a company, people will usually look at the company’s website or social media channel to deconstruct the rumor.
– Don’t feed internet trolls – Creaser warns against “feeding the Internet trolls” who posts controversial information to antagonize a company or an executive. It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of an online fight, so Creaser advises companies to use professional channels of communication to hammer facts if a troll is perpetuating a false rumor.
Read the entire article HERE.