Global companies under daily assault from misinformation and disinformation


For over the last year, I’ve been closely monitoring the impact of misinformation and disinformation on the world’s largest companies – specifically the FTSE 100. It’s led to some staggering results. 95% of FTSE 100 listed companies were mentioned in the past six months by online publications assessed to spread mis- and disinformation.

Assessing the publications to understand which ‘should be approached with caution’ is made stress-free thanks to NewsGuard’s team of trained journalists who catalog and track false narratives. So based on their methodology that leads to scoring, it’s then a manual process to really dig into the narratives making the rounds online.

According to my research, 100+ publications assessed to spread mis- and disinformation regularly covered FTSE 100 companies. These publications have a growing reach but are not typically picked up through traditional media monitoring – 348,000 social media shares of non-credible information, amounting to 9,650,000 overall impressions.

The research indicates that Generative AI may be used to maximise the negative impact of disinformation. A recent paper from GCHQ and The Alan Turing Institute said that large language models improved the ability of sophisticated actors to launch disinformation campaigns and “enabled less sophisticated actors and opportunists to potentially cause significant damage, thus lowering the barrier to entry for nefarious actors

The sectors most negatively impacted during H1 2023 were financial services (28%), retail (27%), and energy (8%). Whilst every industry is impacted by potential mis- and disinformation, reporting time periods make a significant difference. For example, healthcare companies became the top target during COVID-19.

With the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) on countering climate change taking place in the United Arab Emirates from November 2023, disinformation about companies covered during the event is likely to rise.

The rise of AI means disinformation can spread at an unprecedented scale. But very few organisations have built the necessary resilience into their communications operations.

For a copy of the research, drop me a message.

About the author

Michael White

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By Michael White