How to handle an attack of fake news

airasia-scamPETALING JAYA: These days, news travels at the speed of light – but so does fake news. In their rush to take advantage of a good deal or to warn others of controversies, people don’t always stop to check the facts.

Here are some steps that businesses dealing with a wave of fake news can take.

Always be prepared, AirAsia’s head of communications Aziz Laikar told The Star.

“A quick and concise response is the way to go. Be prepared. The more high profile the brand is, the quicker the response should be,” he was quoted as saying.

Aziz speaks from experience, as AirAsia is a frequent target of scammers.

Last month, a promotion circulating on social media claimed the airline was giving away 240 shopping vouchers worth S$500 (RM1,590) each.

People were directed to a link, www.airasia.com-voucher4u.com/, which required participants to answer five questions to redeem the vouchers.

However, clicking on the url took unsuspecting participants to a page that said: “This Web page is parked FREE, courtesy of GoDaddy”, which offered deals to buy domains on the Web.

In February, the airline made a police report after receiving complaints from the public who fell victim to bogus travel agents.

And in July last year, the low-cost carrier was forced to issue a statement warning the public against completing a survey stating that AirAsia was offering participants free flights.

Speaking to The Star, Aziz stressed the importance of a quick response and ensuring that every employee of the company was aware of the situation.

“Start by immediately responding with facts via a short statement to the media, as well as on social media platforms.

“Also, disseminate the information internally to your colleagues. The best way to effectively manage an issue is to make sure the entire company is aware of the situation and able to communicate it correctly,” he was quoted as saying.

Aziz also told the daily that companies should not hesitate to lodge police reports, and should take every opportunity to remind the public that they should always refer to announcements made through official platforms only.