The current world is in a state of flux, and we live in an era of misinformation and fake news. The global Covid-19 pandemic dominates the news headlines, and international politics are the topic of many a coffee table conversation. The campaigning for the US presidential election is in full swing in preparation for the November election. And that is why now, maybe more than ever, it is important that influencers recognise their responsibility when it comes to spreading actual fact-based information, as well as combatting the spreading of misinformation and fake news.
Influencers, by their definition, can have a huge influence on their audiences. A study by Reuters Institute in University of Oxford found that most of the engagement with false information about coronavirus was with posts from different types of social media influencers – be that politicians, celebrities, or more ‘traditional’ type of influences.
Influencers have an impact especially on the youth
A survey conducted by PING Helsinki in spring 2020 found that especially young people, those under the age of 24, found it important that they get reliable information regarding coronavirus from the social media influencer they follow. Furthermore, 22% of respondents under 24 years of age said that the information they got from social media influencers greatly or somewhat influenced their behaviour. Here are our 9 tips on how to communicate about coronavirus on social media.
With the US presidential election approaching, the topic of misinformation on social media is current again. The 2016 elections were criticized due to the spread of misinformation on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which might have had a huge impact on the result of the election. Now, with the 2020 election only a few months away and campaigning becoming more intense, influencers of all scales and sizes need to recognise their responsibility with what they share to their audiences.
5 tips to ensure you avoid sharing misinformation
Finnish influencer Mikko Toiviainen shared 5 tips all social media influencers should keep in mind when talking about important topics such as health or politics.
- The three second rule. Before sharing anything, spend at least 3 seconds getting more familiar with the content. Don’t base your shares on titles only, but click and read more about what it’s about.
- Check your facts. Follow the source and dig deeper. Who is it by? Can you find any other sources?
- Make a clear distinction between what is your personal opinion and what are the actual facts.
- Consider your personal values. What do you want to represent with your content and what not? Which are the companies you collaborate with, and into which events do you go to? Remember, that everything you do has an impact.
- Be brave. It’s important to bring forward also the difficult topics. If conversations are not happening, and fact-based reliable information is not available, then there will always be more room left for disinformation and fake news.
PING Helsinki has also published an ethic code for promoting transparency and general fairness of content marketing. PING Ethics and The Handbook of a Reliable Social Media Influencer help you to navigate in the world of disinformation and fake news in a way that maintains the trust you have built with your audience.