Corporations are active voices in the digital environment, promoting political discourse to persuade the public in ways that support their bottom line. The term "corporate activism" has gained weight as a way of orienting corporate strategy towards social debates that also position companies. While often seemingly benign these discourses are always in-line with corporate interests, however, in many occasions corporate activism is transparently disingenuous, such as cases when they use discourse to distract from the negative externalities of their business models, and away from political solutions. Recently, the scale of these practices has grown enormously with the rapid increase of digital media, and in tandem, digital propaganda models (Rodríguez-Fernández, 2021). However, some media and authors have begun to denounce such actions under the term Dark PR, which would allude to deliberate disinformation promoted by companies (Ennis; 2023; Rodríguez-Fernández, 2023). This concept would also encompass practices against competitors and political opponents in order to affect their reputation.

Interestingly, it is also worth reflecting on the practices that companies will have to develop in order to protect themselves from disinformation. For example, the sugar industry has used disinformation to blame the meat (fat) industry for ill-health (Taubes & Kearns, 2012), and the fossil fuel industry has attacked the wind industry by blaming them for the death of whales (Atkin, 2022). These tactics can only be expected to expand exponentially in the context of the digital conversation, and corporations themselves will be interested in implementing effective tactics and tools to defend themselves. Properly used, verification by companies could contribute to reduce rumors about their own sector of activity, helping other companies in their area of activity.  However, if misused, corporate activism, or dark PR, could become a tool to discredit citizen activism and critical voices that denounce malpractice.

However, if misused, corporate activism, or dark PR, could become a tool to discredit citizen activism and critical voices that denounce malpractice.

Further research into this line of inquiry is direly needed, with the following items of particular interest:

- Theoretical and case studies on corporate activism. 

- The development of frameworks to describe disinformative discourses as tools for communication and influence. 

- Research on the professionalization of negative influence 

- Research on the use of disinformation to affect business or political actors. 

- The impact of disinformation on communication strategies, routines and/or professional competencies. 

- Digital propaganda and astroturfing in favor of business and/or political interest.

- Study of communication strategies/tactics that provide organizations with tools to fight disinformation.



     - Leticia Rodríguez-Fernández (University of Cádiz) 

     - Grant Ennis (Monash University) 

·Find all the info for Tripodos 57 Call For Papers HERE

·Deadline for articles: 01/10/2024

·Expected publication: First term 2025