Astroturfing, or the orchestration of manipulative propaganda campaigns, has become the center of conversations amid Fake News disputations. Exploring an astroturf attack as a paracrisis, this research investigates the effects of an attack and how proactive communication strategies can protect organizational outcomes (i.e., credibility, crisis responsibility, account acceptance, and organizational reputation). An online experiment using a U.S. adult sample (N = 597) was conducted to compare the effects of using pre-bunking, PR supportive, and strategic silence strategies. The study provides insights into advancing crisis communication theory by demonstrating the success of pre-bunking to thwart potential damage post-astroturf attack. In addition to expanding theoretical crisis response models, this research offers practitioners with advice that emphasizes the use of proactive strategies to pre-bunk disinformation.
- Crisis communication
- Crisis response
- Organizational reputation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management