We need fact-checking websites to tell what’s true on social media: Suhel Seth -Governance Now

Brand Guru chats with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, about fake news, Twitter, marketing, PR and more

Where social media has made the world more egalitarian, democratic, equal and anonymous, it also doesn’t have filters, giving some posts huge amplification. More and more people have engaged in various forms of social media after the pandemic. It is used to buy and sell goods, carry out transactions, collect information, their absorption as well as information sharing.

However, warning columnist and businessman Suhel Seth, says social media is also used to spread fake news and lies and needs for which fact-checking websites are necessary in order to to prevent potential dangers.

“The danger is that a lot of things on social media end up being fake – known as fake news. People’s ability to sift through what is right and what is wrong needs to be refined. We need fact checkers and available sites that tell people what is true and what is not. Unless we have that there is also the danger of a herd mentality where people start to believe what is not true and they amplify it so much that they start to believe that what is not true. is not true is true and it is very dangerous.

He was in conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, as part of the Visionary Talk series hosted by the Governance and Public Policy Analysis Platform.

Seth, founder and managing partner of consultancy firm Counselage India, said that today social media allows you to show and share what you are doing with audio and video features. He said businesses should use social media for three things: communication, corporate responsibility and handling complaints. “… Now businesses think that if they respond to complaints, that means they are submitting them. But the point is, more brands are now the subject of complaints on social media … and smart companies are the ones who respond to complaints immediately. Treat cancer in the bud; otherwise more and more companies will fall prey ”.

On the flip side, he said a lot of CEOs are also on Twitter doing remarkable things that get attention. “Social media has a positive side, but it needs to be checked, calibrated and monitored … and it’s all in the hands of the user,” he said.

Seth also said that traditional public relations (PR) methodology has changed due to the way people receive real-time information and news today.

“PR used to be about winning and dining journalists, spreading stories… it’s all gone because people are available to pressure. People with diverse opinions can access media platforms or tools and share the truth …

During debates on the news channels, he said: “The art of conversation and carefully analyzed thoughtful discussions on the channels are gone. What we’re seeing is a Breaking News rush … it’s more about smashing heads than breaking news.

On the media doing his own tests, he said, “The consumer is not a jerk, she is your wife. The consumer will leave room for maneuver, but when he realizes that the water has touched his nose or eyes, he will disappear. News and media brands need to be very aware of the breaking point. What can be worse is not believing in a brand that is trying to engage with you.

Asked about the different brands adopting different modes of communication and what has changed, he said, after the pandemic, brands became more aware that social media can be consumed by a very small percentage of user populations , but with a large number of influencers. “… and it can have repercussions … the chances of things going wrong on social media are pretty high.” “

In addition, he said people are recognizing the fact that today more and more people who use and consume social media have tools not only to influence but also to force a narrative. Citing the example of the advertisements of Tanishq, Sabyasachi Mangalsutra and Dabur Karwa Chauth among many that had to be taken down after public outrage, he said: “We have seen how companies that have used certain symbols in their advertisements and they had to remove those commercials because the pressure on them was unreal, unbelievable. … Having said that, it shows the raw power of social media and also shows the ability of social media to be misused.

He said brand building has changed dramatically over the years because the competition in each category has increased almost 12 to 14 times. In addition to investing money, today you need to invest in product information and, most importantly, use whatever is available; technology for better manufacturing, more responsible (green) manufacturing and also supply to the end user.

“Today, e-commerce delivers it wherever you want. You not only create the product and advertise the brand, but you also care about the logistics. It is a much more complex exercise. In addition, due to competition from e-commerce, margins are under pressure. So, you make money through constant reinvention, re-engineering and re-imagining.

When asked if brands can be built without having substance, he replied that brands are advantages. “Brands must have tangible and intangible benefits. You can never have hollow or shallow marks. Brands need to have substance.


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Virginia C. Taylor