We’ve had Pizzagate (http://bit.ly/2gkO7UN), the BS Detector created by Daniel Sieradski which failed to spot the fake news story that stated that Facebook had created it (http://bit.ly/2gaES9C) and President Obama describing the new ecosystem of news online in which “everything is true and nothing is true”(http://bit.ly/2gtJn0r). How can we know what’s fake and what’s real, what’s true and what’s false?
According to The BBC’s ‘The World at One” on 28th November there are a lot of young people with rather posh cars in Beles, Macedonia, which is surprising when the average local wage is €350. In fact the tech savvy youngsters are making £1,000s by creating fake news stories and promoting them on Facebook, where readers are encouraged to click through to their ‘news’ websites which have advertising on them, thereby making them money. The more outrageous the news, the more click throughs apparently. One person quoted on the show stated “We're not internet criminals, not stealing money from credit cards, we're just writing stories, stories that people in America want to read”. Interesting stories, exciting stories … made up stories.
Which brings to mind communication during change. In our change training sessions, during the ‘Mind the Gap!’ part of the programme, we emphasise the need to constantly communicate throughout the organisation during change … never leave communication gaps … because if you do people will fill those gaps with ‘fake news’. And it will be fake news that people want/expect to hear, because everyone loves a gossip and often fake news is more exciting than the real thing.
But take heart; if you do have a clear communication strategy that sets out exactly what the purpose of the organisational change is, how it will improve the way the company works and how it will positively affect the individuals and groups within the company then you won’t be leaving any gaps for fake news to fill.