Finding an antidote: Testing the use of proactive crisis strategies to protect organizations from astroturf attacks

Courtney D. Boman, Erika J. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102004
JournalPublic Relations Review
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Astroturf
  • Crisis communication
  • Crisis response
  • Disinformation
  • Organizational reputation
  • Paracrisis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Marketing

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