Reputation Management in the Age of Deep Fakes

From social media bots to conspiracy theories, it’s no secret that fake news and misinformation is proliferating across the internet, and that it can have a damaging effect on a company’s reputation. But what we’ve seen so far may be just the tip of the iceberg. Today, technology can be used to take a recording of someone’s voice and have it say literally anything. And it won’t be long before hackers have the ability to manipulate live video. Just last week, questions were raised about the validity of a video shared by the White House.

Prosek has been thinking about what it means for our clients to communicate in a world where it is increasingly difficult to separate the real from the fake. Hal Bienstock, a Managing Director at Prosek, and Aviv Ovadya, founder of the Thoughtful Technology Project and former Chief Technologist at the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Media Responsibility, wrote an op-ed for the Harvard Business Review in which they discuss some steps companies can take to prepare.

According to Hal and Aviv, “Companies must begin to factor deep fakes and other reality-distortion techniques into their crisis-scenario planning. Reputation protection in this new world will require adding a new layer to a company’s rapid response and communications strategies. Executives must be prepared to communicate the facts quickly and to correct the fictions before they spread too far. Communicators should make sure they have the right tools in place to deal with a fast-moving manipulated-reality crisis.”

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