How to start nasty rumors

Don’t have time for too much comment on this intriguing story as I’m sitting in the Albuquerque airport waiting for next flight. But this one was just too good to pass up:

Suffice it to say, the perpetrators cleverly created and placed a quite believable rumor about Apple’s scheme to lock out anyone tampering with their products, and the rest is rumor management history. I haven’t looked to see if Apple has done anything to quell the rumor. But the authors, similar to Ryan Holiday of “Trust Me, I’m Lying” are trying to make a point. Their little infographic on believability increasing as distance from the source increases is interesting, but I also think frequently wrong.

As I just discussed with this group in Albuquerque, there is collective intelligence on the Internet but it is not always at play as this exercise demonstrates. But usually there are enough with access to correct information to fairly quickly and decisively correct those who are wrong. What this demonstrates to me more than anything is the importance of monitoring and rumor management at the company level. Because, unlike most rumors, in this case it is only those higher up in Apple who would have the information to contradict this story about the asymetric screw. How would anyone else know what Apple was doing? So, it gains credibility because no one with real info is responding.

That makes you think a bit doesn’t it. What are others saying about you that isn’t true but only you can correct?


2 thoughts on “How to start nasty rumors”

  1. The time sink of social media is incredible. Monitoring for and defeating the rumor is a 24/7 proposition. And, the larger the company the greater the exposure. It is equally dangerous for the start up company with competition. There is a whole new career base developing — monitoring and managing the social media reputation.

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