Faking It: Fake News and How it Impacts on the Charity Sector

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Fake news is of course a very topical issue and much has been written about it, but this is the first report that examines the implications of fake news for the charity sector. In an increasingly strident online environment it’s much harder for charities to be heard. It’s also easy for them to fall victim to false accusations, which often originate online but gain traction through mainstream media.

Rescue of rubber boat in Mediterranean Sea. Credit: MSF/Maud Veith/SOS Méditerranée

Sometimes misinformation is disseminated by NGOs, whether intentionally or not. As many institutions, including charities, suffer from a loss of trust, some audiences are more likely to listen to their family and friends than to traditional news sources.

In this report we examine the phenomenon of fake news and look at specific examples that have had a direct impact on charities, particularly those involved with international development. And we make recommendations to help charities negotiate the increasingly complex media landscape and rebuild trust amongst their supporters, the media and the general public.


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