​​The Age of Misinformation​​

​​Todd-Bialick.jpgBeing able to trust an information source is critical to decision-making, says Todd Bialick, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ trust and transparency leader. 

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What risks do fake news and misinformation create for organizations? 

The volume of information available to organizations increases the risk of some of that information being inaccurate or incomplete. While​ it can’t be assumed that all information is wrong, better measures need to be taken to verify it when making important management decisions. Trusting the source of information, and being able to show that it is verifiably accurate, is critical to effective decision-making. Acting on misinformation can inhibit the organization’s ability to not only effectively execute on its strategy, but also could lead to potential compliance-related issues.

Can misinformation lead an organization to consider a situation a crisis? 

A situation can be escalated or minimized based on misinformation. Reacting too early and ignoring information can result in a potential crisis. In the construct of our media ecosystem — comprising traditional, nontraditional, and social media inputs — information is always going to come from a particular point of view. The whole picture has to be captured to better assess the impact of the situation. It is important for organizations to verify information using a variety of methods, effectively minimizing the risk of inappropriately escalating a situation to crisis level, but being prepared to respond quickly and proactively when a crisis does, in fact, arrive.​

How can organizations verify that they’re not acting on misinformation? 

Developing a formal approach to verifying data and information is key to helping organizations make better-informed decisions. Whether information is coming from traditional media, social media, third-party vendors, or customers, aggregating and triangulating all of the data sources using dashboards and visualization tools that pull from different traditional inputs and structured and unstructured data sets can allow businesses to make more informed decisions. Social scanning and customer feedback are other ways that organizations can better position themselves to interpret information, assess its accuracy, and respond quickly to issues.

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