Several large organizations were hoodwinked recently by a crafty individual (or company) who used PRWeb to publish a fake press release about Google purchasing the WiFi provider, ICOA. The release was picked up by several large publications including The Associated Press, Business Insider and Forbes. After realizing their faux pas by not confirming this so-called “merger” with Google itself, these reporters admitted their lack of journalistic integrity. However, two questions still remain: Who sent the release, and why?
One reason a company or individual would create a fake press release is to reap the benefits of the stock market. It’s a simple concept that has been used by companies before. All you have to do is buy stock, create a fake press release, distribute it, watch the stock rise and then quickly sell. It’s called “pump and dump.” Of course, this is illegal and often results in huge fines and jail time.
For communicators, distributing a release is much easier than it used to be with multiple wire services available. But, this also means it is easier for those fake releases to be distributed and picked up without someone double checking facts. Almost anyone can distribute content on these sites. Let this serve as a lesson to all communicators and journalists out there: double check the facts before issuing/publishing the content of a release!
The next time you need help with a press release (or getting the facts straight), call The Vandiver Group, Inc. at 314-991-4641. Or visit our website at www.vandivergroup.com to learn more.