Last week in the Washington Post (see link below) an incredibly interesting and relevant article, regarding the replacing of good actors with bad actors on the digital stage, was published. For a newspaper whose by-line is ‘democracy dies in darkness,’ this story is a perfect fit for them. The article seeks to explain how we are all under threat from bad actors which can then generate a feeling of hopelessness, as we watch their growth as they proliferate through all our lives.
As a business, we spend all day every day isolating risks generated by a lot of these bad actors. Most of these are individuals shouting for their cause and are usually tiny minorities, who have learned how to amplify their causes online. These voices all have one thing in common – they come with a set of demands. These demands want us to see the world their way and there is usually no middle ground. They believe their moral causes and belief systems are always superior, their intolerance looms large.
This is all made worse when people create fake profiles of this nature to deliberately muddy the waters and toy with all our emotions. Complex issues and real-life don’t matter in this world – so how do they get so far online?
Well, that bit is easy to answer. They get so far because the digital world doesn’t care about what you have to say. It only cares about clicks. Expecting algorithms to be able to judge content is completely and utterly impossible. No matter what any of the platforms have implemented it has all failed. So minority voices travel furthest because they amplify through attention – good or bad – they don’t care – the clicks on their pages matter more and it’s by that the platforms sell more advertising.
How do we protect our businesses and our own personal brands online? Don’t engage with it. No matter how right you are – how justified you think the response is – no matter how brilliant and witty you are – don’t do it. By answering you are joining the bad actor on the stage and they win. You’ve just become clickbait on a stage where you have no control of the actors or the stage.
If you or your business find the material you are not happy about online then let us know. There are ways to deal with the issue that does not involve you stepping onto the stage with them. If you are preparing statements and working with PR to build a strategy that involves stepping onto the stage then stop immediately and down tools. No audience = no actors.
RiskEye Online Reputation Security works with leading brands and businesses across the world to monitor and read all their data in real-time. With millions of posts read, mapped, and studied, RiskEye has the technical ability to remove harmful data where appropriate and advise clients on the safest methods for dealing with online risk in real-time.