Ironically enough, in the past few years, one of the big news stories has been fake news. Yes, the news has been reporting that other news is fake news. And we’re not talking about the “news” you might read in the National Enquirer or Weekly World News; this is news disseminated by big-business broadcast corporations, ones with high ratings and expensive ad buys.
What Is Fake News?
Fake news is typically defined as “false or misleading information presented as news. It often has the aim of damaging the reputation of a person or entity or making money through advertising revenue.” Yes, this is partially true, but there is more to the story. Leaving important facts out of the “news” or slanting the story to make a person look better (or worse) than they really are can also be considered fake news.
The Media Is the Message
Unfortunately, many people fail to know the difference between news and entertainment, and their perception gets blurred. Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher — those are entertainment programs, not news, but many people don’t realize that. A great example: Many people still think that it was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who said, “You can see Russia from my house!” Yet, the truth of the matter is, that line was said by Tina Fey, who was portraying Palin on “Saturday Night Live,” not Palin herself. In the real world, however, a lot of people still attribute that to the former governor.
Another example: When a television program or newscast, quite often the content of the program aligns with the views of the sponsors. If the message seems slanted, or certain things – things that may go against the message of the sponsor – are left out, that in a way is “fake news by omission.” So, when a news program is talking up something – look under the covers to see who the sponsor is. If the program is bowing to the corporate sponsor, is it really reporting the news, or simply making the people who pay their salaries happy? Think about that for a minute.
In the big picture, the internet is still in its early stages — many of us remember a time before the World Wide Web took shape. And like the television news that is sponsored by big name companies, many see sites on the web as offering legitimate information without an ulterior motive. Whether sites are transparent about who they are and who owns them isn’t always clear, but anybody surfing the web for information should be aware that things might not be as they seem.
What Does this Have to Do with DataRooms.org?
Let’s take DataRooms.org, for example. Performing a quick Google search for terms like “best VDR” and “VDR reviews” brings up DataRooms.org; at first glance, it appears to be a listing of virtual data room (VDR) providers, with a list of the top ten companies listed in order of ranking. They are ranked by reviews as well as by the percentage of users who “would recommend” them. The site has a .org suffix, so it has to be independent and legitimate, right?
It turns out that DataRooms.org is owned by iDeals, a provider of VDRs. That hardly sounds like an impartial idea, does it? And guess who is numero uno on the list, the one with the 4.9 out of 5 stars rating? The one with the “97% would recommend” ranking”? The only name on the list with rave reviews underneath it? Yup, you guessed it: iDeals.
Similar to the ever-popular “Famous Ray’s” pizza parlors in New York City, each of which claims to be “the world’s best pizza,” you have to take this with a grain of salt. Yes, you can believe it and take a chance on it if you want, even if you do see the man behind the curtain. But having a bad experience at a pizza joint might ruin your lunch and nothing more; making the wrong decision on a larger issue, such as selecting a VDR for an important business transaction, will be far worse than indigestion.
What We Learned
Knowing who is behind things — and who is paying the bills — is important when it comes to accepting what you hear. It’s not always kosher to be thought of as an impartial source when there’s really an ulterior motive behind it. Whether it’s news sponsored by a giant pharmaceutical company that shies away from any negative impact its products might have, or a news or information site that has the goal of influencing users in a way that benefits them, you should do your homework when it comes to who, exactly, is the “publisher” of this material.
Where a Caplinked VDR Fits into All of This
Doing your research on reputable VDR providers is a must for such an important business decision. Quality, reputation, and the tools to make your business development strategies or M&As flow smoother are what is important. A robust VDR features secure access, which includes enterprise-level encryption, multiple layers of security, and user-friendly admin controls that allow you to seamlessly upload and download documents, protected by version control, and that allow only certain parties access to certain documents.
Having a trusted third-party VDR provider like Caplinked that utilizes all the appropriate tools for the transaction is mandatory for any SPAC or IPO. The cost savings and time and energy gained from partnering with Caplinked, an industry leader in the VDR space, will certainly streamline the process. Caplinked’s VDRs include advanced management features, document collaboration controls, customizable permissions and more. Reach out today to start your free trial.
Chris Capelle is a technology expert, writer and instructor. For over 25 years, he has worked in the publishing, advertising and consumer products industries.
SourcesCSMonitor – Political misquotes: The 10 most famous things never actually said