NEW YORK: Weber Shandwick has launched a media security center to advise clients on potential information risks.
The agency is partnering with Blackbird.AI, a threat-intelligence company that will provide insights about misformation, disinformation and what’s happening in the media that is relevant to clients. Blackbird.AI said this week that it has closed a $10 million Series A funding round.
The Interpublic Group firm noted that manipulated media has become a reputational, financial, employee and organizational security concern for companies. A 2019 University of Baltimore and CHEQ AI Technologies report also found fake news has cost governments and companies $78 billion.
The center will work with teams specializing in crisis and issues management; policy; analytics; environmental, social and governance communications; and the media. Weber chief innovation officer Chris Perry is overseeing the development of the center’s intellectual property, working with more than 100 staffers globally.
“We have been tracking the rise of disinformation for some time, but the potential harm that can be done to organizations and individuals is now at crisis levels,” he said. “No brand is safe from information threats...and no company is adequately prepared, given the magnitude and velocity of the issue.”
Perry said that media security is a new focus for Weber, and the firm is emphasizing protecting a company’s reputation and brand from malicious content. He added that Blackbird.AI’s platform will complement the firm’s analytics capabilities, adding expertise and technology that provides contextual awareness, early-threat detection and an ability to predict future narratives and risks.
Wasim Khaled, CEO of Blackbird.AI, said Weber is his company’s exclusive partner in the agency space.
“This technology empowers analysts and decision-makers to map out and visualize previously unseen relationships and insights to understand how to proactively respond to a new class of threat,” he said.
Perry said he anticipates media security will become a larger part of communications and marketing strategy in the future.
“Companies require more than social-media-monitoring tools,” said Perry. “They need a sophisticated, cross-functional capability that both protects against threats and addresses them swiftly when they occur.”