– Goodwill Industries faced a viral misinformation campaign in 2007, falsely claiming their CEO was making millions in profits.
– Lauren Lawson-Zilai, senior director of PR and national spokesperson at Goodwill, has been leading the fight against this rumor for 15 years.
– Goodwill developed a multi-pronged strategy to combat the misinformation, including correcting false information, providing guidance and resources to local organizations, and engaging with social media platforms to remove false content.
The Rise of Viral Misinformation
In today’s digital age, misinformation spreads like wildfire. With the rise of social media platforms and the ease of sharing information, false claims and rumors can quickly go viral, causing significant damage to individuals and organizations. Viral misinformation can tarnish reputations, harm businesses, and even impact people’s lives. It is crucial for organizations to be prepared to combat and debunk false information effectively.
Goodwill Industries: A Target of False Claims
In 2007, Goodwill Industries, a nonprofit organization known for its thrift stores and job training programs, became the target of a viral misinformation campaign. False claims circulated online, alleging that Goodwill’s CEO was making millions in profits while paying their employees minimum wage. These claims were not only damaging to Goodwill’s reputation but also threatened the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission of helping individuals with barriers to employment.
Lauren Lawson-Zilai: The Face of Goodwill’s Fight
Lauren Lawson-Zilai, senior director of PR and national spokesperson at Goodwill, took on the responsibility of leading the fight against the viral misinformation campaign. With her extensive experience in public relations and crisis management, Lawson-Zilai understood the importance of addressing false claims promptly and effectively. She became the face of Goodwill’s efforts to combat the misinformation and protect the organization’s reputation.
Goodwill’s Multi-Pronged Strategy
To combat the viral misinformation, Goodwill developed a multi-pronged strategy that focused on correcting false information, providing guidance and resources to local organizations, and engaging with social media platforms to remove false content.
Correcting False Information
Goodwill recognized the importance of correcting false information as quickly as possible. They actively monitored online platforms and news outlets for any mention of the false claims and promptly responded with accurate information. By providing the correct facts and figures, Goodwill aimed to counteract the spread of misinformation and ensure that the public had access to accurate information about the organization.
Providing Guidance and Resources
In addition to correcting false information, Goodwill also provided guidance and resources to its local organizations. They developed a comprehensive toolkit that included talking points, FAQs, and social media guidelines to help local organizations address the false claims effectively. By equipping local organizations with the necessary information and resources, Goodwill aimed to ensure a consistent and accurate message across all channels.
Engaging with Social Media Platforms
Recognizing the power of social media in spreading misinformation, Goodwill actively engaged with social media platforms to remove false content. They reported false claims to the platforms and provided evidence to support their claims. By working closely with social media platforms, Goodwill aimed to prevent the further spread of false information and protect their online reputation.
Lessons Learned from Goodwill’s Experience
Goodwill’s experience with viral misinformation provides valuable lessons for organizations facing similar challenges. Firstly, it is crucial to address false claims promptly and provide accurate information to counteract the spread of misinformation. Secondly, providing guidance and resources to local organizations can help ensure a consistent and accurate message. Lastly, engaging with social media platforms and reporting false content can help prevent the further spread of misinformation.
Viral misinformation can have severe consequences for individuals and organizations. Goodwill Industries’ experience with a viral misinformation campaign in 2007 highlights the importance of developing a multi-pronged strategy to combat false claims effectively. By correcting false information, providing guidance and resources, and engaging with social media platforms, Goodwill was able to protect its reputation and continue its mission of helping individuals with barriers to employment. Organizations facing similar challenges can learn valuable lessons from Goodwill’s experience and apply them to their own strategies for combating viral misinformation.