Mark Twain is rumoured to have once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can even put its boots on.” Regardless of whether he was the maxim’s original author or not, the sentiment has a known historical legacy which still holds true today. It’s not that falsehoods in and of themselves are more likely to be shared, but rather that the nature of their content is usually more inflammatory (and captivating): think scandal, gossip and conspiracy. But if the phenomenon of spreading mistruths isn’t something new, then what has all the hype been about recently? And why is this concerning from a brand-integrity perspective? Does fake news really exist? “Fake news” has evolved into an umbrella term for a number of distinct types of factually incorrect reporting. My focus in this article is on the intentional misrepresentation or complete fabrication of news stories to serve a social, financial or political agenda (barring satire, of course) – in other words, delib...

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