The fake news phenomenon was first discussed during the surprising election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Now that we are in the early days of the Trump administration, the issue of fake news is boiling over and starting to inflict collateral damage on businesses that engage in social media marketing.
According to a January survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of BuzzFeed, the majority of Americans no longer trust the news stories they see in their social media news feeds. Facebook is the second most popular source of news stories for most Americans; only broadcast television is more popular by just one percentage point.
Credibility is an important aspect of a solid social media strategy; marketers are worried that the fake news scandal that rocked the 2016 presidential election could erode trust between established brands and the public. Brand managers should remember that the current political climate is too risky.
The digital marketing landscape has been tarnished by fake news stories. Even though American law enforcement officials are investigating these incidents, social media strategists believe that the damage will have lasting negative consequences. Brand managers should steer clear from discussing fake news stories with their social media followers for the time being. Unfortunately, this issue is very divisive from a political point of view; therefore, online brands should avoid any mention of this sociopolitical phenomenon over the next few months.