Counter rumors with fact
You can’t assume that everything you read on the internet is true (duh!). If you’re the victim of such disinformation, you need to act quickly to counter it with solid facts. Once the horse has left the barn, it’s difficult to catch!
This quote, from a Canton on Emergency Management blog post, is evidenced in most crises we see today. In much the same way hearsay that came from someone’s uncle’s brother’s friend should be taken with a grain of salt, so should unsourced, unverified posts on the Web.
Unfortunately, the average person is more inclined to not only believe what they read, but there’s a good probability they’ll pass it on to others via social media, who then have the potential to re-Tweet, share, or Like the situation into something bigger than it is.
The best way to get ahead of rumor and innuendo is to quickly release some type of statement, even if it’s simply asking for a bit more time to figure things out before you share the full story. If you’re already behind the curve, then get your best, brightest, and most comprehensively trained communicators out there working with reporters, both amateur and professional, to get the real facts published.
For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
[Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is a writer, publicist and SEO associate for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]