The real-estate industry is waking up to the fact that a flood of fake stories, which the industry claims are a “natural byproduct” of a free-for-all online environment, is taking its toll on consumers, real estate brokers say.
The industry is in a tough spot because of the number of people who are getting sucked into this fake news ecosystem, said Brian Loehr, a managing director at the real estate brokerage Trulia.
The realtors say many are unaware of the dangers.
Trulia, the data analytics firm, surveyed more than 2,000 brokers and real estate agents to learn how their firms are responding to the flood of misinformation.
It found that nearly half of them are taking steps to remove or delete fake news.
The real estate sector is in its first year of the Great Recession and is reeling from the unprecedented wave of fraud, which has led to a number of major losses.
The fraud and misinformation has driven up the price of homes in many cities and prompted investors to abandon their investments.
Trulia found that many brokers are not taking any action.
The biggest threat is to consumers who are not savvy enough to keep up with the pace of change, Loehre said.
“There are a lot of people in the real-world who don’t know that the fake news environment has a lot more reach than we realize,” he said.
The Real Estate Board of America (REBGA), the nation’s largest real estate association, has issued a series of guidelines on how to combat fake news on its website and in social media.
REBGA officials say they’re taking steps like deleting the websites of websites that use misleading and misleading titles, removing content that contains the word “fake” or “hoax,” and removing links to fake news from the pages of brokers.
“The real-time nature of the news cycle means that when something is being reported on, it gets more widespread and then it spreads faster,” REBAGA CEO and chief operating officer John Deere said in a statement.
The new guidelines are part of a larger effort by the realtor industry to address the dangers posed by fake news and other forms of misinformation, including the spread of viruses and spam.
Real-estate brokers say they can make sure their clients are protected and that they’re protected from being taken advantage of by those who are spreading malicious content.
“If people are going to try to spread misinformation, that information needs to be fact-checked,” Loehar said.
“People should not trust what they read or hear online.”
Follow David Streitfeld on Twitter at @davidstreitfeld.
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