FAKE Financial News of Tesla Acquisition
Back on April 12, a fake news release, purportedly from Tesla, issued by a New York City PR shop, itself recovering from recent scandals and senior-level resignations, said the electric car firm would acquire a lithium company.
Recently Tesla Chairman & CEO Elon Musk, had said that the “price of lithium has gone to insane levels and they might need to get into the business,” so speculators were ready to pounce on rumors. When the fake news hit, in just minutes investor internet chatter of the acquisition sent Lithium Corp stock soaring 280%, but it was not to be, and was never, ever for real.
Tesla did not respond to any media, given it maintains no corporate PR functions, but leadership of Lithium Corp did issue a statement to address the matter and reject any purported connection to the rogue statement or a Tesla deal. Both companies are publicly traded, Lithium Corp with a market value of about $33 million and Tesla valued at some $935 billion.
There is absolutely a protocol when a reputable PR agency issues a statement on behalf of a public company, including checks and balances by the legitimate paid news when PR Professionals speak to accredited journalists to pitch them a story, often there is already a pre-existing relationship where representation is verifiable.
Simply put, companies that want to be considered a trusted brand and who truly value their reputation, should never accept cut rate quality, go without a qualified communications team leader, or skimp on something as important as your market presence and reputation.
For Tesla, this incident, and the misuse of their name in an announcement, will pass, but for the smaller entity, who will believe the next news issued about them. Will investors and the media take it with a grain of salt, so that when it comes time to issue the quarterly earnings announcement or to disclose a major new investment or partnership, there will likely be skeptics.
The integrity of a company’s PR and communications team, does matter significantly to your brand, reputation and if done right and professionally, it can and will boost a businesses bottom line.