Misinformation: the fight of our professional lives

Posted on 29/03/2021


Tackling misinformation and disinformation will be the fight of charity communicators’ lives over the next ten years.

Misinformation is not just an issue for those working in high profile areas such as vaccines and the environment, any campaign can be hijacked by people spreading fake news. 

This can turn any campaign into a crisis. We need to be on constant watch for deep fakes and people misrepresenting our views. 

First impressions last and it is never easy to unsee content. This means we need to learn lessons from political communicators who are at the forefront of seeing the damage done by false content being seen and how this is rebutted.

It also means that the care-free days of letting your supporters run wild on social media with content could be coming to an end. We need to take the high ground and ensure that we direct supporters to share evidenced and professional content.

We also need to ensure we maintain a duty of care over asking supporters to engage in social media content. The last 12 months has seen a rise in hate speech directed to charity staff and beneficiaries.

The work of the Charities Against Hate group has never been more important in working with platform owners, the government and campaigners to ensure supporters are prepared and supported for this febrile media climate.

This article first appeared in the annual PRCA ethics publication in March 2021. Image: Shutterstock