Donald Trump has brought a lot of attention to the problem of fake news stories over the past few months. Many people were unaware of the extent of the problem until recently, and although it may or may not be true that Trump himself is a victim of fake news, there is certainly evidence for the problem existing on smaller levels. Generally, when people refer to the fake news they are talking about newspapers and television stations reporting on events in a way that creates a negative spin on the person in the story. Essentially, the way that something is written or delivered gives the possibility of appearing negative even thought the story has no negative elements. These types of tactics are generally used by an news outlet with an agenda, one that is not reporting fairly and in an unbiased way and is instead reporting in a way that will sway people one way or another on an issue. Fake news is now getting attention, but it has been used for many years to slander those in the public eye.
In the case of Lord Neil Gibson, the fake news happened on the internet. Several years ago a large scale campaign was mounted by an enemy of Gibson, designed to slander his online reputation. This was the target due to the fact that Gibson relies upon his online reputation in order to secure partnerships and business contacts that will potentially be used for future business. If these potential contacts are limited, Gibson finds it far more difficult to secure financing and complete projects. The attack occurred when a business rival founded several websites that were designed to look like legitimate news sources. He farmed public information about Lord Gibson, and posted it throughout the sites making them appear as though they were authorities. He then posted false stories about Lord Gibson within the same sites, and by posting these stories into “authority” websites he got search engines to index these fake stories in searches for Gibson’s name. Creating doubt when a potential partner is researching Gibson online was the goal, and when these potential partners saw the negative stories many decided to not move forward with projects.
Gibson has mounted a battle against these fake news stories for many years, going as far as to get a court order to shut down the websites for slander. While that was successful, the stories themselves were copied onto several unaffiliated websites and distributed, essentially allowing them to live on even though ordered by a court to be removed. Gibson has mounted a multi-year campaign to clear his name through the distribution of legitimate news across a series of websites created specifically to inform researchers and investors. These “official” Gibson websites should be the only source trusted by researchers, and Lord Gibson encourages anyone doing research on him to verify the source of any information that is presented. Unfortunately, fake news still exists and is being used to harm legitimate business people every day.