Burson study finds internet rumours spread quickly

NEW YORK - A study conducted by Burson-Marsteller's research unit found that 81% of internet opinion leaders report forwarding via internet a rumour or other piece of unsubstantiated information about a company, a brand, or top executive to their friends, family, or colleagues in the past year.

Yet despite the appearance of rumourmongering by these so-called "e-fluentials", Burson found them to be a sceptical crowd. The study discovered that 86% of these people attempt to confirm these rumours from news websites, while 73% turn to a company's website to

confirm hearsay.

Burson said that such findings should be encouraging to companies because they demonstrate that rumours can be controlled before they spread.

"This is encouraging news for companies, which have the ability to control the information about their enterprises, and respond to individuals' questions," Idil Cakim, Burson-Marsteller's director of knowledge development, said.

Burson also explained that it was promising news that 28% of e-fluentiuals said they would listen to a company's management when trying to confirm rumours.

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