Lego Is Victim of Fake News; What We Can Learn

Roter Stempel – Fake News

Earlier this week, a story spread that Lego had pulled all sets that included police, firefighters and even the White House. It seemed like a rather bizarre story when I read it and as it turns out, a false one.

That’s according to Snopes a website that describes itself as: “The definitive Internet reference source for researching urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.” Snopes, in a piece entitled “Did LEGO Pull Police Playsets from Stores?” marked the story as false.

These are volatile times in which civic chaos and confusion can easily
ignite and fan the flames of false stories. So, what can we learn from this?

With the best of intentions, rumors and misinformation can result from the most
innocent of acts. It will, therefore, be essential that toy companies take a
great deal of care with all internal and external communications. That means
watching out for shortcuts and jargon that insiders may understand but that
outsiders may misconstrue.

It also means that if a false story is circulating, a company needs to take
aggressive steps in stopping it as quickly as possible. Such steps are easier
for larger companies with big PR budgets to pull off but harder for smaller
businesses.

In general, great care needs to be taken by every one of us, no matter how well-intended,
in how, when, and what we communicate. Just ask Drew Brees.

One thought

  1. As far as I recall, the original release said that Lego was halting “marketing” of police-related playsets. Of course, to us that means Lego was temporarily ceasing promoting and advertising of these playsets. But to those unfamiliar with the industry jargon, halting marketing means stopping the sales or pulling the toys. I think it was a bit disingenious of Snopes to call it “False”. They probably should have given it a “partially true” or “somewhat false” designation. I can understand why, in a climate of confusion and division, people might misconstrue Lego’s policy.

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