So much has changed about how we get “the public” to view our companies. Over the past twenty years, we watched the definition of “public relations” to expand until it also fit things like social media and influencer outreach.

However, a recent story on The Information about the rise of fake business news in China reads as a distant early warning for company owners who haven’t felt they need to worry about defending themselves from attacks.

In the service of “growth hacking,” some startups have edged into shakier and shakier ethical territory. It’s not uncommon now for so-called “reputation management” consultants to marshal an army of bots to post fake reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor to pump up a client’s perceived ratings and to drive down a competitor’s. It won’t be long before we see similar tactics to those in China, touted by folks who claim they’re results-oriented.

It’s one thing to have a reactive media strategy in place to combat a story about something that a reporter uncovers about your company. It’s another thing entirely to think about the kind of thing that an unethical competitor might dream up about you. To survive that kind of attack, you’ve got to fall back on a routine cadence of positive stories in the press and positive relationships with happy customers.

What positive stories are you developing now to barricade yourself from “fake news” about your brand in the near future?