Defamation of Character
One of the characteristics of the information age in which we currently live is that information is available to anyone at any time, and that anyone can contribute to the spread of information. Whereas information streams used to be controlled by a couple of (state-owned) sources, nowadays anyone can generate, spread and comment on information.
This means that it is increasingly difficult to control the external narrative and the consequences affect almost everyone. Actors with malicious intent know this and use this to their benefit to attack their adversaries in new and multi-dimensional ways.
Well-known individuals are attacked by conspiracy theorists, a large oil company is targeted by an environmental organisation and foreign democratic elections are influenced by a hostile country. People are presented with so much disinformation that it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish the truth from lies and the reputation of individuals, businesses or countries suffers as a consequence.
Besides intentional attacks, mistakes on behalf of the person or organisation or the wrong public relations strategy to a crisis can have disproportionate effects due to the ‘negativity bias’ of the media and people in general. It is easy to get a bad reputation but so much more difficult to build up a good one.