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The Fake News Minefield: Vast Majority of Execs Are Concerned About Threats from Leaks & Fake News

Post-truth concept, also known as post-factual politicsMore than Half Are Now More Careful About What They Put in Work Emails

Fake news has morphed into a real threat for brands and companies in 2017, and leaks are increasingly troublesome in a volatile security landscape. Organizational advisory firm Korn Ferry recently released new survey results confirming that executives see these issues as real concerns—nearly half (49 percent) of respondents say the threat of leaks or fake news has increased in recent years, and 19 percent say their organization has been impacted by fake news in the last year. These execs believe false information about their company, including financials, is the biggest threat to their organization, followed by product misinformation and false information about leadership.

“This is a more disruptive world for organizations,” said Richard Marshall, global managing director for Korn Ferry’s Corporate Affairs practice, in a news release. “The threat of reputational damage due to leaks or fake news is on the rise.”

Nearly three quarters (70 percent) of execs say their C-suite leaders and boards are “concerned” or “very concerned” about the threats from leaks or fake news—and as a result, almost four in ten (38 percent) said their companies are changing or have already changed their email policies, and 51 percent say they are more careful about what they put in their own work emails.

“Organizations may have dealt with ‘alternative facts’ before, just not at the speed with which that misinformation can now travel thanks to social media,” Marshall said. “Between the leaks and fake news, it’s not surprising that organizations are doing a major rethink on their communications strategies and operations.”

There were 781 executive responses to the Korn Ferry survey, which took place in February 2017.

Survey Results

How serious does your C-Suite and Board view the threats from leaks and/or Fake news?
Extremely concerned 33 percent
Somewhat concerned 37 percent
Not concerned 30 percent
Over the past 12 months, has your organization experienced leaks of sensitive information that have compromised your company, products/services?
Yes 14 percent
No 82 percent
Not sure 4 percent
Has the threat to your organization increased during the past few years?
Yes 49 percent
No 41 percent
Not sure 10 percent
Is your company considering or has it changed its email policies because of concerns over leaks?
Yes 38 percent
No 62 percent
If no, do you think it should?
Yes 43 percent
No 57 percent
Have you become more careful about what you write or put in work emails since reports of Wikileaks’ disclosures?
Yes 51 percent
No 49 percent
During the past 12 months, has your organization been impacted by “fake news”?
Yes 19 percent
No 72 percent
Unsure 9 percent
What type of fake news is the biggest threat to your company?
Product misinformation 29 percent
False information about the company/financials 49 percent
False information about leadership 22 percent

Source: Marketwired; edited by Richard Carufel

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