The Threat of AI Disinformation to Your Brand 

Jul 2, 2024

By Anna Freeman

Let’s be real, nothing defines your brand like its internet presence. Whether through organic search, advertisement, or algorithms, consumers are constantly collecting information about products and brands from the internet. This information builds perceptions and drives purchase decisions. So at the end of the day, what the internet has to say about your brand matters. 

But what if it isn’t true? 

Disinformation campaigns, in which one entity intentionally spreads false or misleading information about a target in order to negatively sway public opinion, are not a new phenomenon. They’ve existed as long as presidential elections, brand rivalries, and suburban subdivisions. However, with the rise of the internet, disinformation evolved dramatically, becoming faster, global, and anonymous.

Now, in the advent of generative AI, we face another pivotal moment in the evolution of disinformation that makes it critical to proactively protect your brand. In this article, we’ll delve into the nature of AI disinformation, explore the threats it poses, and provide practical tips to help you safeguard your brand’s online reputation.

What is AI Disinformation?  

AI disinformation refers to false or misleading information that is intentionally generated and propagated using AI technologies. AI disinformation can take many forms, including:

  1. Deepfakes: Videos or audio recordings that have been manipulated to make it appear as though someone is saying or doing something they did not actually say or do.
  2. Synthetic Text: AI-generated articles, social media posts, or messages that mimic human writing to spread false narratives.
  3. Fake Images: Images that have been altered or completely created by AI to mislead viewers.
  4. Bots and Automated Accounts: AI-driven social media accounts that spread false information, amplify certain narratives, and engage with users to make the disinformation more credible.

This false info is created using advanced machine learning algorithms that can produce highly realistic and convincing content. Tools like ChatGPT can generate text that mimics human writing styles, making it difficult for readers to discern its authenticity. Similarly, AI models like Dall-E can create photorealistic images that appear genuine but are entirely fabricated. These capabilities make it easier for malicious actors to create and distribute false information quickly and at scale.

Bot accounts and automated systems play a crucial role in spreading this disinformation. These AI-driven accounts can post, share, and amplify false content across social media platforms, creating an illusion of legitimacy. They can engage with real users, generate likes and comments, and manipulate social media algorithms to ensure that the disinformation reaches a large audience. The coordinated efforts of these bots can significantly boost the visibility and perceived credibility of false narratives, making it even harder for users to distinguish between real and fake information.

AI Disinformation and Marketing 

The impact of AI disinformation on a company’s brand reputation can be severe. False narratives and misleading content can quickly erode trust and damage the public perception of a brand. Customers who encounter negative or false information about a company may question its credibility, ethics, and quality of products or services. This can lead to a decline in customer loyalty, reduced sales, and long-term reputational harm.

The speed and scale at which AI disinformation can spread exacerbates the damage. Once false information goes viral, it becomes increasingly difficult to contain and correct. Brands may find themselves in a constant battle to counteract disinformation, diverting resources and attention away from their core business activities. In the worst cases, there can be legal and financial repercussions. 

Protecting Your Brand 

AI disinformation can be daunting, but there are several proactive steps you can take to safeguard your brand. Here are some straightforward and effective strategies for counteracting disinformation: 

1. Build a Strong Social Media Presence

A robust social media presence is essential for counteracting disinformation. By cultivating a large and engaged following, you create a powerful platform to disseminate accurate information and positive content about your brand. 

Regularly share updates, engage with your audience, and build a community of supporters who can help amplify your message and defend your brand against falsehoods. This strong network can act as a first line of defense, quickly addressing and correcting any misinformation that arises.

2. Do Not Share Any Information with Generative LLMs

While it may seem obvious not to share sensitive information, it’s important to take a strict approach and avoid sharing any company information, including your brand name, with generative language models (LLMs). These AI tools can inadvertently leak or misuse data, leading to potential security breaches and the spread of inaccurate information. Always turn off data sharing when using any generative model. Here’s a detailed guide on how to disable data sharing with these tools to ensure your brand’s information remains secure.

3. Give Your SEO Some TLC

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for maintaining your brand’s online reputation. You want the first search results that appear when people look for your brand to be your official web pages and content. Regularly update your website with relevant, high-quality content that aligns with popular search queries related to your brand. 

Always use targeted keywords, optimize meta descriptions, and ensure your site is mobile-friendly. By prioritizing SEO, you can push accurate information to the top of search results, making it easier for consumers to find and trust your content over disinformation.

4. Strengthen Cybersecurity Measures

Investing in robust cybersecurity measures is essential to protect your brand’s digital assets from being compromised. Ensure that your website, social media accounts, and other online platforms are secure from hacking and unauthorized access. 

Implementing strong passwords, using two-factor authentication, and regularly updating your security protocols can prevent malicious actors from hijacking your online presence to spread disinformation. A secure digital infrastructure not only protects your brand but also instills confidence in your audience regarding your commitment to their safety.

The Takeaway 

In the digital age, AI disinformation presents a significant threat to brands, making it crucial to adopt solid digital marketing strategies. The internet plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer perceptions, and any false information about your brand can have serious repercussions. To protect your brand’s online reputation, build a strong social media presence, avoid sharing sensitive information with generative AI models, prioritize SEO, and strengthen cybersecurity measures.