Your reputation: discussing fake news at board level

The recent Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Interim Report is worth reading, whether you live in the UK or not. It covers issues affecting us all.

If you’re serving on a board of an organisation, you’d do well to proactively discuss these matters as they can affect your reputation, and if you’re a listed company, your share price. And they’re extra topical with the new Guidance on Board Effectiveness (PDF) from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). One of the questions the FRC calls for boards to address is:

How do we articulate and communicate what we consider to be acceptable business practices?

To answer that you might have to do some exploratory work first. Gather some objective information upon which you can reflect as a board, interpret – and ultimately act on.

Here are some thoughts, ideas and resources to get you started – the first in a series covering the seven areas of the on-going parliamentary inquiry on Disinformation and ‘fake news’:

Definition of fake news, and how to spot it

The term has been around for a long time (although CAPS LOCK usage is clearly a recent form), as this Google Ngram shows:

[The previous peak being in the 30s and early 40s might make one want to read more Arendt, but let’s get back to the board business].

Types of communication

The report has a welcome discussion on the different types of communication that can fall under fake news:

  • Fabricated
  • Manipulated
  • Imposter
  • Misleading
  • False context of connection
  • Satire and parody

Questions for boards on fake news

The report calls for more research on how to spot fake news, which is welcome. Whilst we await that, here are some practical conversation starters (and a couple of ideas on how to address them) for your next board meeting.

Use full screen, or download the Align Your Org – Question Sets for discussing fake news at board level as a PDF.

This is the first in a series of posts focused on the areas the Select Committee Inquiry into Disinformation and ‘fake news’ is focused on. Follow @AlignYourOrg for updates.

And meanwhile, why not explore our other Open Tools and Question Sets too.