TWTWTW #7 | 🤥 Deep fakes ⚡ International Rescue 💻 Social media 🚀 Future of PR and communication

📻 Disturbing parody, 🔫 combatting disinformation, 🐟 Fish and chips, 👩‍⚖️ social media governance, 🐷 Boris Johnson joins LinkedIn, 🛫 AI ethics, 📝 Creativity

It’s another missive from Stuart Bruce with my That Was The Week That Was round-up of the stories that have caught my eye because of their potential impact on the future of public relations and corporate affairs. I’m going to start by asking a small favour. If you spot a news story or some research that you think should be included in next week’s TWTWTW then please let me know and I’ll credit you with the tip.

🤥 Deep fakes

📻 Disturbing parody | This isn’t even technically a deep fake video but is an example of what deep fake technology can do. Hitler and Stalin singing ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ (the Boing Boing version has been removed, but a search finds other versions). It is bizarrely amusing and deeply disturbing at the same time. Technically a deep fake video is where photos, videos or audio files are manipulated by artificial intelligence (AI) in hard-to-detect ways. They can appear to make people say things they didn’t say, do things they didn’t do or to be places they weren’t at. The first to come to mainstream prominence was Barack Obama calling Donald Trump a “complete dipshit” or more recently one of my favourites is Jon Snow apologising for the last season of Game of Thrones.

🔫 Combatting disinformation | Dealing with deep fakes is just one of the many new challenges that PR and communication professionals face. Technology companies like Microsoft are now developing AI solutions to help us to identify deep fakes. Microsoft Video Authenticator is a new tool that can analyse a still photo or video to provide a percentage chance, or confidence score, that the media is artificially manipulated. When I work with my crisis communication clients this is always one of the issues they find most interesting. Have you updated and tested your crisis communication plan to deal with fake news?

⚡ International Rescue

🐟 Fish and chips | It was national fish and chip day in the UK on Friday 4th September. If you’re one of my overseas readers you might not know that, alongside roast beef, fish and chips are the most quintessential of British dishes. This fantastic video with ex-footballer turned TV presenter Gary Linekar reminds us that this most British of dishes is actually entirely the creation of refugees who found a home in our wonderful country. It’s the work of an International Rescue Committee team led by Matthew Doyle. Bonus fact: it was shot at Colmans Fish & Chips in South Shields which might have something to do with the fact that IRC CEO David Miliband was once the local MP! Via Matthew Doyle.

💻 Social media

👩‍⚖️ Social media governance | The new BBC director general has been making headlines by announcing he is to “crack down on staff airing views on social media”. It has had a mixed reaction with some praising his stance for maintaining the BBC’s impartiality and others critical of him stifling free speech. It’s a timely reminder that every organisation, of whatever size in every sector, needs an up to date social media governance. Today most organisations I talk to have social media policies, although many are hopelessly out of date or simply not very good. If your social media policy still has rules like including “Views are my own” in Twitter biographies then it’s time for us to talk as you’re one of the ones that is getting it wrong.

🐷 Boris Johnson joins LinkedIn | UK prime minister has joined LinkedIn. He joins French president Emmanuel Macron, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden who all already had profiles. Johnson’s is a pretty poor effort as it omits most of his career history as there is no mention of him being a journalist, or the shadow ministerial jobs he was sacked from, or that he is the product of the University of Oxford and Eton school. In contrast, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern lists most, but not all, of her career. She has a five-year gap between university and her first job is as a policy adviser in the Cabinet Office. She lists her BCS Professional Communications from the University of Waikato from 1999 to 2001. That’s right Jacinda is a PR professional who made it to prime minister. Perhaps that explains why according to the PRovoke/Stickybeak survey that PR professionals around the world thought she was best at communicating during the COVID-19 crisis.

🚀 Future of PR and communication

🛫 AI ethics | Hot on the heels of the CIPR’s Ethics Guide to Artificial Intelligence in PR that I shared last week comes a much bigger initiative from Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce has been developing and using AI to aid critical decision-making for 20 years. It's how it tests aircraft engines to make them safe for us to fly. It has used this experience and part of its mega £1.46 billion R&D spend to develop an AI ethics framework. It is a method that any organisation can use to ensure the decisions it takes to use AI in critical and non-critical applications are ethical. It also includes the first step-by-step process for ensuring the outcomes of AI algorithms can be trusted, prevents biases from developing in algorithms undetected and with results being constantly monitored, it ensures they are trustworthy. Via Rolls-Royce.

Disclaimer: Rolls-Royce is a former client. The image is a mock-up of a small modular reactor which was created as part of a successful digital public affairs campaign to lobby the UK government for support to build small nuclear reactors.

📝 Creativity | New research by the World Federation of Advertisers reveals that more than half of global companies are now using some in-house creative capability. I don’t find this surprising as I’ve been arguing for years that agencies selling commodity creative services have a limited future. Corporates say in-house creative is more cost effective, provides better integration, is quicker and has better ‘brand knowledge’. We are seeing an increasing gap between agencies selling commodity services which can be very big volume business and consultancies selling expertise, strategy and specialist support which might not be as big by volume but should be more profitable.

That Was The Week That Was

So That Was The Week That Was in PR and communication. If you spot something that you think I should include then please let me know. Thanks for reading this far and another ‘pretty please’ from me to subscribe now (if you don’t already) and to forward it to at least one other person and encourage them to subscribe.

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