The year 2016 was undoubtedly the year of fake news. With the American elections in its prime, thousands of websites, articles, videos and pictures where embedded into the World Wide Web for public consumption.
However, in case you underestimated the power of fake news here is the biggest blow from this menace:
Hillary Clinton lost her opportunity of becoming the first American female president and Donald Trump became the president of the United States of America.
This is a major victory for peddlers of fake news, however, the consequence for brands will be more damaging this year and many years to come.
Here are the top three damages fake news could be doing to your brands:
Brands will lose credibility
Just to be clear, fake news is not just a tool used by political strategists to decimate the credibility capital of their opponents, dodgy advertisers have also mastered the art and science of it. The side effect of this for other innocent advertisers is that consumers will over time develop a distrust for brands and their messages. All the hundreds of millions spent on Facebook ads might virtually become a waste.
Digital platforms will be battered
The adverse effect of fake news and other click bait messages is putting off millions of people from social media. It is now common place that people now take a break from Facebook, Twitter etc.. The lack of trust and control felt by many users will continue to take a toll on the platforms themselves.
Marketing is taking the back seat for politics
This is one of the most tragic consequence of fake news. In the early part of 2016, Facebook feeds took a turn for the worse. Posts and ads with political content became pervasive and invasive. While Facebook said it has adjusted its news feed algorithm and as well Google, the scourge is not going to disappear anytime soon. Hundreds of millions of users will begin to focus on politics and those who are not cut out for that, lose interest in everything altogether.
Next week, I will share my suggestions on how brands can combat fake news. For the mean time, I will advise we all call it ‘bad news’.