Disinformation campaigns may seem a problem primarily facing social media companies that need to regularly strip false information from their platforms. But the fallout for targeted businesses can be substantial, with security teams often expected to minimize the damage.

The spread of intentionally false information has been part of the business landscape since well before the social media era. In 1928, the makers So-Bos-So, New York’s most popular product to shoo flies from cattle, successfully sued a smaller brand for instructing salesmen to warn stores they could be “fined for selling” So-Bos-So, which was “subject to government seizure.” 

But technology shifted the approach of such campaigns, now often managed by so-called "dark" public relations firms on behalf of businesses or nation states. The risk today lies in speed, virility and how quickly thoughts planted by a disingenuous actor are laundered by real people through retweets and other forms of online distribution.

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