The popularity of Dark PR is on the rise.
Ever since Sigmund Freud's nephew Edward Bernays invented public relations in the 1920's, the art of 'mass market mental manipulation' through the deliberate distribution of branded narratives has had a powerful impact on consumer culture.
Now public relations tools are not just being used to share innocent news of a new potato crisp flavour, but also to influence and manipulate people with far more grievous intent.
Called Dark PR - there is a rising demand from a variety of clients for the services of Dark PR agents and agencies.
The aim is to purposefully spread fake news, disinformation and scandal to discredit somebody or something in the public's opinion.
Dark PR is essentially weaponised information used to harm somebody's reputation.
'Nearly 70 percent of 6,100-plus Americans who participated in a Pew Research Center poll last year said that fake news greatly affected their confidence in government institutions. Fifty-four percent said it hurt their confidence in other people.
About 60 percent blamed political figures and their staff, and 53 percent blamed activists. Seventy-nine percent believed steps should be taken to restrict fake news.
Black PR "is manipulation at scale for money without any concerns for the damage to the planet, country, or even individual safety," observed Rob Enderle, principal at the Enderle Group.
"The danger is not only the damage this does, but given people don't like to be made fools of, the repercussions when they find out they were played," he told the E-Commerce Times.' - via
The use of propaganda is nothing new - governments and the military have used it for as long as war has been waged.
What is of concern is that the price and access to very effective reputation ruining PR is making the use of such services easier.
Winston Churchill once said: "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” The dark arts of war tactics appear to be finding a new home in mainstream society.