PROI, a global network of independent PR agencies, has launched a free 24/7 crisis hotline for organisations who need urgent help on misinformation and fake news. According to the network, these types of crises are rapidly rising among clients, especially relating to online and social media.
The hotline is managed directly by PROI member agencies globally, and is spearheaded in Singapore. It works as a chatgroup staffed by various PROI partners, so each partner takes turns to look out for enquiries. Because the agencies are based in different time zones, there will be no need for staff to work overtime.
“Often in times of crises, companies may feel overwhelmed by how they should handle the situation,” BlessAnn Luah, head of communications & partnerships at Distilleri, a PROI partner agency, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “The hotline provides a first response and general guidance. Depending on the approach recommended, crisis management fees will apply after.”
Luah said that while the hotline was predominantly set up for organisations, individuals will be able to get in touch as well. It’s basically applicable to any organisation or individual who require communications advice when they are facing a misinformation crisis.
One example of a crisis of such was was a series of Facebook posts that featured fake news articles utilising Singapore’s deputy PM Heng Swee Keat's name to promote bitcoin investments. Fake news articles lured readers to a website offering investments, which eventually prompted readers to pay via credit card or bank transfer to an overseas bank account.
According to a 2022 study by CheckPoint Software, the volume of ads for fake vaccines have multiplied within 2021. This leads to cyber groups that leverage fake news campaigns to execute cybercrime through various phishing attacks and scams.
PROI partner agencies in APAC include Icon Agency, Senate SHJ, ERA, SPRG, and Midas PR.