There is a pattern in the creation of Fake News: First, false or misleading information is disseminated by public authorities. This information is then sharpened into fake news by politicians or the media - with reference to the supposedly serious source of the information.
The problem: Once wide-reaching multipliers have brought fake news into the world, it is difficult to erase it again by correcting it. The career of the wrong narrative usually has already too much advanced.
The good news: Responsible and fast PR can help to contain fake news. Thus, the Interior Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia managed to catch the false news that there was a decree to the police instructing them to prosecute crimes committed by migrants to a lesser extent. After it was informed by individual social media users of the according circulating document, the ministry vigorously denied it on the same day - even before influential multipliers took up the report in order to boost their own political agenda.
Our impulse "Bad PR: the Fire Accelerant for Fake News" is available for download at the very bottom of this page. It also provides information on how communicators can deal with the phenomenon of fake news:
1 - Be accurate
Certain influencers just wait for misleading information that confirm their agenda;
2- Listen carefully
A lot of social media users usually sense Fake News and ask authorities for the correct information.
3 – Be fast
If you want to contain Fake News, you should reply at least within the same day.
4 - Go in big
Let important representatives do the debunking (depends on potential damage of Fake News).
The complete study report of the “Stiftung Neue Verantwortung” on the impact of fake news in the context of the 2017 federal elections can be found here: https://www.stiftung-nv.de/en/node/2205