Rumors and Fake News as “Improvised” News

fake news GIFrose mcgowan rumor GIF

Rumors are often believed by people to flourish in an environment of news blackouts and information famines, and thus, assumed to them diminish in an era of information overload. But the opposite seems to be the case. In contemporary information society, rumors seem to arise not from lack of information, but from an information overload (Kimmel, 2004).

coding the matrix GIF

In today’s globalization age characterized by liquidity and flows, information has become “liquid” and can swiftly penetrate the various domains of social life (Ritzer, 2010). Liquidity is a metaphor used by some globalists to explain the growing flexibility and mobility of things that is brought about by the current processes of globalization.

information GIF

Liquidity simply means that things, information and places are increasingly becoming light and thus easy to move from one location to another. Like water, “liquids” can easily “flow” to different locations with the capacity to change their form in order to adapt to the environment.

phoebe buffay GIF

With today’s globalization and technological innovation, almost all things have become so fluid and light that they travel in various spaces in blinding speed. In a similar manner, news, “fake news,” “alternative facts,” e-rumors, e-gossip, and other forms of content now mounted on digital and electronic platforms in the cyberspace flow like running water or liquid that penetrates dimensions almost all dimensions of social life. Corporate organizations are not spared from this tsunami of information that besieges the market and the workplace.

speed communication GIF

As information is easily and freely created, traded, edited, and manipulated to suit one’s interests, the veracity of their content declines resulting in the difficulty to know which news are “real,” “fake,” or “improvised” such as rumors and gossip. With information overload and the constant bombardment of the mind with unverified information from the Internet, people are deprived of the luxury of time and immediate means to swiftly investigate whether the posts, news, or information they received from and passed on to other people are totally or partially true or false. This also happens during crisis or emergency situations when information is absent or lacking to ascertain the truth. Knowledge means control. In business settings, sufficient information is good for managers and the corporate organizations they handle to achieve higher productivity and profit.

the rain point GIF by The Rain Netflix

Rumors and gossip do not normally emerge in moments of certainty where the corporate organization runs smoothly, but usually during times of crisis and unexpected change in the day-to-day operations of the company. Thus, rumors usually abound when a business firm faces or experiences bankruptcy, leadership change, mergers, buyouts, financial losses, labor problems or restructuring.

reporting conspiracy theory GIF by Rewire.org

For instance, when Twitter faces a buyout by other firms, rumors spread like a wildfire. When news leaked that Twitter will be the takeover target of the giant companies in September 2016, whispers were immediately and spread in the cyberspace. News spread that the engine company Google (Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30), would take over the company, pushing the stock value of Twitter to 20% rise. But since no immediate confirmation came from Google, more speculations arise.

twitter GIF

CNBC mentioned that the business software company Salesforce.com might also be looking to buy Twitter, but no clarification what benefits Twitter would bring to this transaction. Later, other rumors surfaced that Verizon (VZ, Tech30) might be bidding for Twitter as well, but Verizon denied the speculation. Since no accurate information to rely on of who would buy Twitter, the rumors continued.

twitter omg GIF

The Media companies News Corp (NWSA) and 21st Century Fox (FOXA) — both controlled by Rupert Murdoch — have been cited as possible Twitter acquirers too. So has NBC parent company Comcast (CMCSA) as well as the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — who are two of Twitter’s largest shareholders — could team up to take the company private. Again, in the absence of certainty, more rumors surfaced saying that the influential Silicon Valley investors Marc Andreessen and Silver Lake Partners could team up to buy Twitter and so on (La Monica, 2016, 23 Sep).

This case of Twitter buyout shows that rumors can immediately spin and become uncontrollable if no convincing and reliable information is available.

reporting conspiracy theory GIF by Rewire.org

The sociologist Tomatsu Shibutani notes that rumors or other forms of unverified information or “fake news” arise from uncertainty, from the absence of context and concrete information by which those affected by a crisis may understand its significance:

has the perfect guy GIF

“When activity is interrupted for want of adequate information, frustrated [people] must piece together some kind of definition, and rumor is the collective transaction through which they try to fill this gap. Far from being pathological, rumor is part and parcel of the efforts of [people] to come to terms with the exigencies of life (Doorley & Garcia, 2007).”

fix this star wars GIF by Hyper RPG

Thus, rumors  for Shibutani are “improvised news,” a tentative information created by people who are affected by uncertainty in order to gain control and to make sense of ambiguous situations or crises.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

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About the Author:

Dr. Vivencio (Ven) O. Ballano is Associate Professor V of the Sociology Department of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Manila. In 2011, he obtained his doctoral degree in Sociology from the Ateneo de Manila University. He was chosen Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Southeast Asian Studies Research Exchange Program (SEASREP). He is the author of the book Sociological Perspectives on Media Piracy in the Philippines and Vietnam published by Springer Singapore in 2016. Dr. Ballano’s specialized areas of teaching and research include sociology of law, religion, disaster management, corporate organization, and the Catholic Social Teaching. His current projects and interests include writing monographs and articles on rumors and gossip in corporate settings and the Catholic Social Teaching, as well as doing sociological research on film piracy and illegal camcording in the Philippines.

Continue reading “Rumors and Fake News as “Improvised” News”

Rumors and Fake News as “Improvised” News

 

fake news GIFrose mcgowan rumor GIF

Rumors are often believed by people to flourish in an environment of news blackouts and information famines, and thus, assumed to them diminish in an era of information overload. But the opposite seems to be the case. In contemporary information society, rumors seem to arise not from lack of information, but from an information overload (Kimmel, 2004).

coding the matrix GIF

In today’s globalization age characterized by liquidity and flows, information has become “liquid” and can swiftly penetrate the various domains of social life (Ritzer, 2010). Liquidity is a metaphor used by some globalists to explain the growing flexibility and mobility of things that is brought about by the current processes of globalization.

information GIF

Liquidity simply means that things, information and places are increasingly becoming light and thus easy to move from one location to another. Like water, “liquids” can easily “flow” to different locations with the capacity to change their form in order to adapt to the environment.

phoebe buffay GIF

With today’s globalization and technological innovation, almost all things have become so fluid and light that they travel in various spaces in blinding speed. In a similar manner, news, “fake news,” “alternative facts,” e-rumors, e-gossip, and other forms of content now mounted on digital and electronic platforms in the cyberspace flow like running water or liquid that penetrates dimensions almost all dimensions of social life. Corporate organizations are not spared from this tsunami of information that besieges the market and the workplace.

speed communication GIF

As information is easily and freely created, traded, edited, and manipulated to suit one’s interests, the veracity of their content declines resulting in the difficulty to know which news are “real,” “fake,” or “improvised” such as rumors and gossip. With information overload and the constant bombardment of the mind with unverified information from the Internet, people are deprived of the luxury of time and immediate means to swiftly investigate whether the posts, news, or information they received from and passed on to other people are totally or partially true or false. This also happens during crisis or emergency situations when information is absent or lacking to ascertain the truth. Knowledge means control. In business settings, sufficient information is good for managers and the corporate organizations they handle to achieve higher productivity and profit.

the rain point GIF by The Rain Netflix

Rumors and gossip do not normally emerge in moments of certainty where the corporate organization runs smoothly, but usually during times of crisis and unexpected change in the day-to-day operations of the company. Thus, rumors usually abound when a business firm faces or experiences bankruptcy, leadership change, mergers, buyouts, financial losses, labor problems or restructuring.

reporting conspiracy theory GIF by Rewire.org

For instance, when Twitter faces a buyout by other firms, rumors spread like a wildfire. When news leaked that Twitter will be the takeover target of the giant companies in September 2016, whispers were immediately and spread in the cyberspace. News spread that the engine company Google (Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30), would take over the company, pushing the stock value of Twitter to 20% rise. But since no immediate confirmation came from Google, more speculations arise.

twitter GIF

CNBC mentioned that the business software company Salesforce.com might also be looking to buy Twitter, but no clarification what benefits Twitter would bring to this transaction. Later, other rumors surfaced that Verizon (VZ, Tech30) might be bidding for Twitter as well, but Verizon denied the speculation. Since no accurate information to rely on of who would buy Twitter, the rumors continued.

twitter omg GIF

The Media companies News Corp (NWSA) and 21st Century Fox (FOXA) — both controlled by Rupert Murdoch — have been cited as possible Twitter acquirers too. So has NBC parent company Comcast (CMCSA) as well as the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — who are two of Twitter’s largest shareholders — could team up to take the company private. Again, in the absence of certainty, more rumors surfaced saying that the influential Silicon Valley investors Marc Andreessen and Silver Lake Partners could team up to buy Twitter and so on (La Monica, 2016, 23 Sep).

This case of Twitter buyout shows that rumors can immediately spin and become uncontrollable if no convincing and reliable information is available.

reporting conspiracy theory GIF by Rewire.org

The sociologist Tomatsu Shibutani notes that rumors or other forms of unverified information or “fake news” arise from uncertainty, from the absence of context and concrete information by which those affected by a crisis may understand its significance:

 

has the perfect guy GIF

“When activity is interrupted for want of adequate information, frustrated [people] must piece together some kind of definition, and rumor is the collective transaction through which they try to fill this gap. Far from being pathological, rumor is part and parcel of the efforts of [people] to come to terms with the exigencies of life (Doorley & Garcia, 2007).”

fix this star wars GIF by Hyper RPG

Thus, rumors  for Shibutani are “improvised news,” a tentative information created by people who are affected by uncertainty in order to gain control and to make sense of ambiguous situations or crises.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

Thank you for reading this post. subscribe or follow this blog for more updates.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Vivencio (Ven) O. Ballano is Associate Professor V of the Sociology Department of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Manila. In 2011, he obtained his doctoral degree in Sociology from the Ateneo de Manila University. He was chosen Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Southeast Asian Studies Research Exchange Program (SEASREP). He is the author of the book Sociological Perspectives on Media Piracy in the Philippines and Vietnam published by Springer Singapore in 2016. Dr. Ballano’s specialized areas of teaching and research include sociology of law, religion, disaster management, corporate organization, and the Catholic Social Teaching. His current projects and interests include writing monographs and articles on rumors and gossip in corporate settings and the Catholic Social Teaching, as well as doing sociological research on film piracy and illegal camcording in the Philippines.

Continue reading “Rumors and Fake News as “Improvised” News”

Effective Techniques for Managers to Combat Company Rumors

1.How Managers Should Deal with Company Rumors

ID-10067259
Web Hosting

There are essentially three ways to manage rumor in a company.

The first is to try “to wait them out.” Some rumors dissipate over time and do little harm. Only rarely are rumors serious enough to require action.

Second, if waiting fails, the rumor must be publicly refuted. When the rumor is refuted and also made to look unreasonable in public it negates its “news value.” This strategy is the most straightforward and aggressive. The company (or other target) names the specific rumor and discredits its usefulness and the credibility of its source through an advertising campaign, a press conference or highly publicized event such as one used by a company while denying the accusation of promoting Satanism. This technique is effective in making people disregard those still interested to pass the rumor along.

Third, truth or authentic information should be released or positively advertised as swiftly as possible. The last point strives to associate the target of the rumor with positive features such as the company’s traditional commitment to quality, excellence and consumer satisfaction. For instance, a Canadian brewery has used this strategy in strengthening the link between its company and positive features, while simultaneously at the same time dissociating the company and the rumor that is it owned by a Pakistani shareholder.

2. How Supervisors Should Address Rumors

ID-100209473

Kaferer (1990) has suggested alternative, but not empirically acceptable, rebuttal strategies, such as creating counter-rumor and spreading disinformation.” If rumors seem to threaten the business organization, there are basically two ways to deal with them.

The first is to try to prevent them. The supervisor must recognize that rumors have definite causes, most anchored on the lack of information about things important to employees and on the insecurity and anxiety that go with them. Whatever the cause, it must remember that rumors are received and transmitted by people in terms of their biases. Thus, the general theme of the rumors may be maintained, but the details are often altered to serve vested interests.

The second is to try to vanquish rumors if they already affect productivity, community relations, or interdepartmental cooperation. “In refuting a rumor, a manager or supervisor should release the truth as quickly as possible. If a rumor is not subdued or quashed quickly, employees will interpret later events in the light of the rumor.”

“Communications is the primary weapon in putting an end to unwarranted gossip. The company story must be put across in a positive light. The media appreciates quick, accurate, and thorough responses, which should be provided. Staff members should also be used to spread the truth. Other potential allies can be contacted and persuaded to help. The best way to dispel a rumor is to establish a policy regarding the problem and let everyone involved know about it. Appoint one person or office as the source of information for the media. Above all, always give reasons for failing to answer to the media.”

The Structuring of Rumors

pexels-photo-1059112

During moments of organizational restructuring in a company where rumors bound, “effective change communication campaigns are said to reveal, rather than conceal, reduce uncertainty through collective planning, and proactively establish and maintain trust.”

The methods of spreading rumors follow the development of communication technologies. The personal and face-to-face transmission of rumors has gradually being dominated by online and electronic transmissions through the Internet and latest ICTs. The use of the Internet has emerged as  what  Kim and Bae (2016) as an “omnipotent precious sword” to spread rumors to build or destroy products and services “faster than the light” in the cyberspace is now the major concern of companies and consuming public.

What Does the Bible Say About Rumors?

1. Proverbs 26:20-21: Without wood, a fire goes out. Without gossip, arguments stop. Charcoal keeps the coals glowing, wood keeps the fire burning, and troublemakers keep arguments alive.

2. Exodus 23:1 “You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.

3. Leviticus 19:16 You must not go around spreading false stories against other people. Don’t do anything that would put your neighbor’s life in danger. I am the Lord.

4. Proverbs 20:19 Whoever spreads gossip betrays confidences; so don’t get involved with someone who talks too much.

5.Proverbs 11:13 People who tell secrets about others cannot be trusted. Those who can be trusted keep quiet.

6.Proverbs 11:12 Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.

Thank you for reading this post. Sign up with our newsletter or follow this blog via email to receive updates.

Effective Techniques Managers Must Use to Combat Company Rumors

1.How Managers Should Deal with Company Rumors

ID-10067259
Web Hosting

There are essentially three ways to manage rumor in a company.

The first is to try “to wait them out.” Some rumors dissipate over time and do little harm. Only rarely are rumors serious enough to require action.

Second, if waiting fails, the rumor must be publicly refuted. When the rumor is refuted and also made to look unreasonable in public it negates its “news value.” This strategy is the most straightforward and aggressive. The company (or other target) names the specific rumor and discredits its usefulness and the credibility of its source through an advertising campaign, a press conference or highly publicized event such as one used by a company while denying the accusation of promoting Satanism. This technique is effective in making people disregard those still interested to pass the rumor along.

Third, truth or authentic information should be released or positively advertised as swiftly as possible. The last point strives to associate the target of the rumor with positive features such as the company’s traditional commitment to quality, excellence and consumer satisfaction. For instance, a Canadian brewery has used this strategy in strengthening the link between its company and positive features, while simultaneously at the same time dissociating the company and the rumor that is it owned by a Pakistani shareholder.

2. How Supervisors Should Address Rumors

ID-100209473

Kaferer (1990) has suggested alternative, but not empirically acceptable, rebuttal strategies, such as creating counter-rumor and spreading disinformation.” If rumors seem to threaten the business organization, there are basically two ways to deal with them.

The first is to try to prevent them. The supervisor must recognize that rumors have definite causes, most anchored on the lack of information about things important to employees and on the insecurity and anxiety that go with them. Whatever the cause, it must remember that rumors are received and transmitted by people in terms of their biases. Thus, the general theme of the rumors may be maintained, but the details are often altered to serve vested interests.

The second is to try to vanquish rumors if they already affect productivity, community relations, or interdepartmental cooperation. “In refuting a rumor, a manager or supervisor should release the truth as quickly as possible. If a rumor is not subdued or quashed quickly, employees will interpret later events in the light of the rumor.”

“Communications is the primary weapon in putting an end to unwarranted gossip. The company story must be put across in a positive light. The media appreciates quick, accurate, and thorough responses, which should be provided. Staff members should also be used to spread the truth. Other potential allies can be contacted and persuaded to help. The best way to dispel a rumor is to establish a policy regarding the problem and let everyone involved know about it. Appoint one person or office as the source of information for the media. Above all, always give reasons for failing to answer to the media.”

The Structuring of Rumors

pexels-photo-1059112

During moments of organizational restructuring in a company where rumors bound, “effective change communication campaigns are said to reveal, rather than conceal, reduce uncertainty through collective planning, and proactively establish and maintain trust.”

The methods of spreading rumors follow the development of communication technologies. The personal and face-to-face transmission of rumors has gradually being dominated by online and electronic transmissions through the Internet and latest ICTs. The use of the Internet has emerged as  what  Kim and Bae (2016) as an “omnipotent precious sword” to spread rumors to build or destroy products and services “faster than the light” in the cyberspace is now the major concern of companies and consuming public.

What Does the Bible Say About Rumors?

1. Proverbs 26:20-21: Without wood, a fire goes out. Without gossip, arguments stop. Charcoal keeps the coals glowing, wood keeps the fire burning, and troublemakers keep arguments alive.

2. Exodus 23:1 “You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.

3. Leviticus 19:16 You must not go around spreading false stories against other people. Don’t do anything that would put your neighbor’s life in danger. I am the Lord.

4. Proverbs 20:19 Whoever spreads gossip betrays confidences; so don’t get involved with someone who talks too much.

5.Proverbs 11:13 People who tell secrets about others cannot be trusted. Those who can be trusted keep quiet.

6.Proverbs 11:12 Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.

Thank you for reading this post. Sign up with our newsletter or follow this blog via email to receive updates.

How to Deal with Company Rumors

ID-10060171

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nature of Company Rumors

“[W]orkplace rumors are systematic and can be spread faster than the organization’s formal communication channels. Mishra (1990) further states, “the grapevine is also capable of penetrating even the tightest security because it cuts across organizational lines and deals directly with people in the know” (p. 52). Organizations should not ignore rumors in the workplace that have the potential to harm its brand/image. This being said, organizations need to take responsibility and address rumors in the workplace before the situation becomes out of control.

ID-10067259

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rumors abound in office conversations. Although 90% of employees are usually passive listeners, 10% take gossip seriously and are said to be active links in the passage of information (Hunter, 1983). Rumors in the company may contain different types of topics. But rumors in the workplace tend to focus on three most prevalent categories: on the quality of someone’s work, tenure (whether or not someone’s keeping their job] and personnel changes. Rumors are outcomes of interpersonal relationships. Research indicates that rumors among employees result from an organizational structure that frequently exposes employees to role conflict and ambiguity. Thus, a company with a “toxic” organizational culture can be prone to office rumors. The higher is level interpersonal conflicts in the company; the higher would the level of office rumors. In addition, employees experience rumors because of conflict between the instrumental and expressive functions that they perform (Rosnow, 1983)” (Akande and Odewale, 1994, p. 28).

Despite its destructive force in the workplace, a major percentage of employees considered the grapevine as the main source of information about organizational affairs. Since it is perceived by employees as a personal type of communication, it frequently has a strong impact on them than formalized channels of communication. The grapevine is much more flexible than formalized channels of communication. It is also a rapid source of informal news. After a “news” event occurs in an organization, the grapevine makes information available almost immediately (Akande and Odewale, 1994, p. 28).

The existence of rumors during crises and uncertainties is a fact of life. “The good news is that preventive and remedial actions are possible, allowing professional communicators to minimize or even to stop the damage from rumors. Effectively preventing or controlling rumors requires an understanding of the psychological and sociological factors that drive people to listen to, pass along and believe rumors” (Doorely & Garcia, 2007).

How to Deal with Rumors in the Company

ID-100209473

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are essentially three ways to manage rumor in a company (Koller, 1992). The first is to try “to wait them out.” Some rumors dissipate over time and do little harm. Only rarely are rumors serious enough to require action. Second, if waiting fails, the rumor must be publicly refuted. When the rumor is refuted and also made to look unreasonable in public it negates its “news value” (Shiburani, 1966). This strategy is the most straightforward and aggressive. The company (or other target) names the specific rumor and discredits its usefulness and the credibility of its source through an advertising campaign, a press conference or highly publicized event such as one used by a company while denying the accusation of promoting Satanism (Pettijohn, 1987). This technique is effective in making people disregard those still interested to pass the rumor along. Third, truth or authentic information should be released or positively advertised as swiftly as possible. The last point strives to associate the target of the rumor with positive features such as the company’s traditional commitment to quality, excellence and consumer satisfaction. For instance, a Canadian brewery has used this strategy in strengthening the link between its company and positive features, while simultaneously at the same time dissociating the company and the rumor that is it owned by a Pakistani shareholder. Kaferer (1990) has suggested alternative, but not empirically acceptable, rebuttal strategies, such as creating counter-rumor and spreading disinformation” (Akande and Odewale, 1994, p. 28).

ID-100286182

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If rumors seem to threaten the business organization, there are basically two ways to deal with them. The first is to try to prevent them. The supervisor must recognize that rumors have definite causes, most anchored on the lack of information about things important to employees and on the insecurity and anxiety that go with them. Whatever the cause, it must remember that rumors are received and transmitted by people in terms of their biases. Thus, the general theme of the rumors may be maintained, but the details are often altered to serve vested interests. The second is to try to vanquish rumors if they already affect productivity, community relations, or interdepartmental cooperation (Keith, 1975). “In refuting a rumor, a manager or supervisor should release the truth as quickly as possible. If a rumor is not subdued or quashed quickly, employees will interpret later events in the light of the rumor” (Akande and Odewale, 1994, p. 29).

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