Handling Misinformation Through Public Relations


Misinformation is a challenge for brands in today’s world. False narratives can quickly spread online, damaging reputations and trust. This highlights the importance of a strong public relations strategy. PR can help brands combat misinformationand come out stronger. There are proactive and reactive strategies to navigate online falsehoods.

Cultivating trust

It all starts with building a foundation of trust with the target audience. Be consistent in messaging, readily admit to mistakes, and actively engage in open dialogue. Remember, a brand perceived as genuine and transparent is less susceptible to the whispers of misinformation.


Rigorous fact-checking must be woven into the fabric of brand communication. This applies to everything from marketing materials and social media posts to press releases and website content. Partnering with fact-checking organizations can further solidify a company’s commitment to accuracy.


Track online conversations about the brand, products, and industry. Use social media listening platforms and other tools to identify potential misinformation early. Detect and address falsehoods promptly to prevent them from spreading.

Credible allies

Develop partnerships with credible sources such as experts, fact-checking organizations, and reputable media outlets. Collaborating with such allies bolsters a company’s message and amplifies accurate information, giving misinformation less room to breathe.


Don’t let misinformation fester. Address it promptly and directly with clear, concise, and factual information. Delaying a response can allow the false narrative to solidify and spread further.

Facts not feelings

Avoid getting drawn into emotional arguments or rehashing the misinformation itself. Stick to objective facts and verifiable evidence to dismantle the false claims. Remember, reason, not rage, is the most potent weapon.


Consider the context and target audience when deciding where to address the misinformation. Depending on the situation, press releases, social media posts, blog articles, or direct communication with impacted audiences might be the most effective options.


Explain how the company managed to reach its conclusions and provide clear sources for any information. Transparency fosters trust and allows the audience to assess the situation for themselves. Remember, being open and honest earns respect, even in the face of adversity.

Legal options

In some cases, particularly when dealing with malicious actors spreading harmful misinformation, legal action may be necessary. Consult legal counsel to determine the best course of action, ensuring that the response is both effective and compliant with regulations.


Empower the audience to become discerning consumers of information. Share tips on identifying misinformation, verifying sources, and avoiding bias. By equipping them with the tools to think critically, companies create a community of brand advocates resistant to online falsehoods.

Industry-wide collaboration

Misinformation is a shared challenge, and tackling it requires collective action. Consider collaborating with other brands and organizations within the industry to develop industry-wide standards for combating misinformation. This united front can amplify the message and create a more robust defense against online falsehoods.

Continuous learning and adaptation

The misinformation landscape is dynamic, constantly evolving with new tactics and platforms. To stay ahead of the curve, prioritize continuous learning and adaptation. Stay informed about emerging trends in misinformation warfare, explore new tools and resources, and constantly refine the PR strategies to remain effective.

Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading Pr agency

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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