Marathon Strategies

The Age of Disinformation: New Analysis Raises Alarm on Disinformation’s Impact on Corporate America

Report from Marathon Strategies a Wake-Up Call for Businesses Amid a New Era of Reputational Risks

New York, February 7, 2022 – With much of the attention on the proliferation of online disinformation focusing on politics and COVID-19, a new analysis from Marathon Strategies reveals that organized disinformation attacks are increasingly threatening corporate America. 

The report, “The Age of Disinformation: The Weaponizing of Disinformation Against Corporate America,” chronicles the evolution of disinformation beyond internet conspiracy theories and into sophisticated campaigns deploying a range of tactics from propagating fake news to paid amplification of social media content. The groups driving these campaigns are broadening their reach to corporations, inflicting financial and reputational damage. Click here to download the report.

“While media coverage of online disinformation focuses primarily on the political consequences of these campaigns, disinformation operators are targeting corporations with increasing intensity,” said Marathon CEO and founder Phil Singer. “Our analysis compiled data from media intelligence platforms over a one-year period and identified the business sectors most often linked to online disinformation.”

Marathon’s analysis found from November 2020 to November 2021: 

  • 5.7 million mentions of S&P 500 companies connected to the most common disinformation terms. 
  • The top four targets of disinformation by S&P 500 GICS sector were Communication Services, Consumer Discretionary, Information Technology, and Health Care. 
  • Traditional news (658,224) and Twitter (470,231) topped the list of media sources where the S&P 500 companies were identified in tandem with the search terms. Blogs (177,074), wires and news captured by LexisNexis (95,097), and Reddit (83,643) rounded out the top media sources. 

“This report should serve as a wake-up call for all businesses about the need to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring their brands and to prepare mitigation strategies before they become victims of disinformation,” Singer added. “When it comes to online disinformation, punting on preparation is not an option.”