Debates on disinformation today tend to be associated with the intrigue of psy-wars and culture wars. Public attention has been seized by accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections and far-right misinformation techniques on social media. Conspiracy theories like QAnon and Anti-vax designed to spread falsehoods for political advantage have become household names, as the culture wars increasingly tear societies and even families asunder. 

But less attention has been placed on the costs that disinformation can have on businesses. A study by the University of Baltimore has found that disinformation costs companies US$78 billion ($106.3 billion) in annual losses in the US alone, with financial disinformation in particular leading to US$17 billion knocked off market values. Consumer brands lose US$235 million annually from advertising next to fake news items, even as they spend over US$9 billion each to repair the damage from disinformation attacks such as boycotts. 

Not even established brands are spared. Tesla’s stock price took a hit in 2019 due to fake videos of a self-driving Tesla car catching fire, while a fake Bloomberg report was created to claim a US$31 billion takeover bid of Twitter, causing its share price to jump 5% before the masquerade was discovered. Semiconductor firm Broadcom also experienced a fall in share prices when a fake memo was circulated, claiming that the US Department of Defense was investigating national security risks posed by its actual US$19 billion bid for CA Technologies. 

To continue reading,

Sign in to access this Premium article.

Subscription entitlements:

Less than $9 per month
3 Simultaneous logins across all devices
Unlimited access to latest and premium articles
Bonus unlimited access to online articles and virtual newspaper on The Edge Malaysia (single login)

Stay updated with Singapore corporate news stories for FREE

Follow our Telegram | Facebook