A Perfect Storm: The Intersection of Fake News, Celebrity Endorsements & Social Media
Created on July 24, 2018
What do fake news, celebrity and expert endorsements and social media have in common?
They all involve sensational, well known and incredibly scalable, compelling distractions and attractions, potentially swaying beliefs and opinions. They are all very difficult to substantiate or authenticate and digital and mobile platforms have provided the speed and an audience far faster and broader than could have ever been imaginable in the past.
The term "fake news" became a household word in large part as a result of the 2016 Presidential election in the United States. But in historical terms, fake news, endorsements by well-known or well-regarded individuals and even social media are hardly new. Benjamin Franklin has been alleged to have been guilty of spreading false news reports and celebrity endorsements or advertisements featuring experts in a variety of fields have been a promotional tool of the marketing industry for centuries. Social media – think telephone party lines, gossip columns and even the ancient Greek agora – all served as 'watering holes' for real and unreal pronouncements.
Like so much of the digital and mobile world from which we all now get our information, how do we distinguish real news from information that appears credible, possibly even from a reputable media source, but that is incorrect, often harmful to the subject of the report and far too often created with the intent of benefitting the originator in some way. How can you tell whether a celebrity or expert endorsing a particular product or service is legitimate given today's digital toolkits, photoshop capabilities, superimposed material and voice-overs, not to mention the laws and regulations that govern endorsements by celebrities and experts. The legitimate endorsements are surrounded by regulation. The fake ones are far too easy to create. Indeed, in a world in which studies consistently show consumers trust their peers more than corporations and advertisers, no wonder 'influencers' have arisen from the ranks of bloggers, YouTube producers and Web and mobile-based content producers and they in turn, relish the ability to leverage the notoriety of famous people to help promote their products and services. So do those who create false promotions.
On social media platforms, 'fake' - misinformation - spreads widely, far beyond the channels where a "normal" story may land. Furthermore, social media moves incredibly fast and attorneys must adapt and be ready to comply with protocols despite the breakneck speed of a developing crisis. Traditional responses by individuals who may be defamed, by celebrities whose rights of publicity may be violated, for businesses whose trademarks are being infringed simply weren't designed and certainly aren't capable of meeting the challenges of social media driven communications moving on digital and mobile platforms at the speed of light.
This program, presented by Joseph Rosenbaum, will examine some of the key principles of law and regulation that apply to these issues in today's interactive, digital, mobile ecosystem and provide some practical strategies for dealing with them and counseling clients.
- Recognize the implications of fake news, endorsements and social media have to consumers, as well as the individuals and companies that are targets of misinformation
- Identify the key legal and regulatory principles that apply
- Examine what steps can be taken to prevent or minimize damage and how to develop strategies and action plan, in advance, to effectively deal with problems when they arise
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