The video spoof of John Lewis’ celebrated seasonal tear-jerker, created by a media A-level student, has proved a runaway hit on YouTube and received blanket coverage in traditional media, with hundreds of thousands of viewers reported as being ‘fooled’.
Meanwhile, the political power and influence of social media has been brought into sharp focus by the BBC World Service’s ‘Factually Challenged’ programme. In the run up to the US elections it has investigated the ‘rise and rise of fake news’ online – in a world where 60% of US adults receive some of their daily news from Facebook.
The rise and rise of Donald Trump is also the subject of Adam Curtis’ new film, ‘HyperNormalisation’ – which looks into the ‘management and control of perception’ at a macro-level and the ‘multiple versions of reality’ which bounce across social media based on ‘complete untruths’.
Arguably, fake news is a symptom of a world defined by ‘uncertainty’ – and, in the UK, a post-Brexit world.
It’s widely accepted that the UK economy has confounded the Remain campaign’s gloomy predictions prior to the EU referendum. Indeed, despite the Brexit vote, the UK’s economy has expanded in the three months following the decision.
In our own real estate market, in the months since the Brexit vote, some London-based estate agents have reported their strongest lettings and several studies have concluded that house prices have performed well, with the construction industry remaining firmly in growth mode.
On the commercial side, short-term volatility is reported to have created new deals in markets which were, arguably, overstretched. Indeed, Brexit appears to largely be a domestic issue, with overseas investors continuing to target the UK and viewing London as a global safe haven.
In a world of uncertainty, the distinctions between rolling online ‘news’ and edition-based reporting by independent and established ‘media brands’ have never been more pronounced.
The role of the latter is critical to accurate reporting and original analysis and comment. Voters and citizens depend on it to make informed decisions – and consumers watching adverts don’t like being fooled much either!