Online misinformation isn't a new phenomenon, but 2020 revealed just how damaging and far-reaching its consequences could be in the midst of a global pandemic. Typically responsible for declaring a health state of emergency, the WHO also felt it was imperative to launch a webinar series on the "infodemic." Stopping the spread of falsehoods about the virus became a component of stopping the virus itself.
Tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter were forced to act as well (again, not a new conversation), turning off reviews and flagging misleading information more proactively. The Social Science Research Council proclaimed that "misinformation is everybody's problem now."
Going into 2021, we as consumers have a (healthy) mistrust for information sources. So the question becomes: What can an honest brand do about it? And if your business is reliant upon big tech, like Google and Instagram, to garner clicks, web traffic, and sales, how does one brand stand out from the rest?
At Yext, we write about this a lot: the more questions businesses answer on their own website — where they control the information — the better. Providing updated and transparent information prevents prospective customers from bouncing back to the third-party publishers and search engines where misinformation abounds. The best part of all? It's entirely in your control.
But what about those third-party sites? As it turns out, there is an important pattern.