In today’s global marketplace, reputation is a valuable commodity, and protecting one’s name or brand requires persistence and diligence. This is especially true online. When a company’s advertising inadvertently appears on divisive social media platforms or websites that spread hateful content, the reputational damage can be significant.
To help companies guard against this risk and ensure that money spent on advertising does not support the dissemination of harmful or hurtful content, we helped launch NELEŽ (which translates roughly to “No Lie” or “Get Real”), a not-for-profit collaboration of businesses, disinformation experts and communication professionals committed to responsible advertising.
Using our proprietary disinformation detection and semantic analysis methodology, we first worked to identify where the majority of toxic articles were being published in the Czech digital space. We then compared our results with work done by the Foundation for Independent Journalism (www.nfnz.cz), which classifies Czech websites in terms of transparency, accuracy, and professionalism. Finally, to objectivize the NELEŽ list and to gain a deeper awareness of the disinformation landscape, we combined our findings with lists collated by Konšpirátori.sk, a Bratislava-based organization that maintains a public database of websites with frivolous, misleading, fraudulent, conspiratorial, or propaganda content. The result is the most comprehensive blacklist of websites trading in falsehoods in the Czech Republic (for a current list, visit www.nelez.cz).
Advertisers joining the NELEŽ network commit to banning these sites from their online ad campaigns, thereby robbing website owners of funding, which is one of the most effective ways of fighting disinformation online.
Nearly 70 Czech and international brands – from Allianz to Vodafone – have signed on to support NELEŽ’s mission, preventing millions of Czech crowns from feeding the coffers of disinformation promoters. Not only has this network helped improve the information space in the Czech Republic and beyond, it has also solidified the reputations of NELEŽ members as advocates for facts and truth.
In the future, NELEŽ will continue to target disinformation websites by partnering with search engines to suppress toxic content in search results. NELEŽ has successfully partnered with Seznam – the largest search engine in the Czech Republic behind Google – to remove disinformation from its news feed. We are now focused on bringing other search engines into the NELEŽ community.
When socially responsible organizations guard their reputations with the consumer in mind, everyone benefits.
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