Fake News as a new (?) challenge in crisis and risk communication

In our latest DGSMtech workshop (see post below) we have debated the current role of fake news for civil protection agencies and Virtual Operation Support Teams (VOST). Fake news are not a new phenomenon; propaganda, false information, prefabricated alternative facts but also the demand for alternative sources and critical reflection on opinions have all existed before the advent of the internet. One often repeated arguments for the internet, youtube and social media age being different to TV, photo and print media is speed and accessibility. It is supposed that not only the opportunities for feedback and easier spread of information have increased. Also, the habits of media consumption and expectations for rapid (tweet-speed) information delivery have changed. But also the trust in authorities, journalism and sources of information have transformed, as for example, some digital natives might turn to some youtubers’ opinion first rather than to some of the old media anchor persons.

On this backdraft of transformations in society in dealing with new media and information technologies, the question debated on our workshop was; how does this affect professionals working with social
media in press and public relation offices in civil protection agencies for instance, but also, how does it affect volunteers working sometimes „from the sofa“ in similar topics or even in organised structures such as a VOST?

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