Adverse media analysis is a cornerstone of due diligence
Today, virtually all functions within most businesses use some form of online research to vet the reputations of potential business stakeholders. These stakeholders could include new clients, employees or other third parties. From HR to compliance and risk management to procurement and marketing, everyone wants to ensure they’re not aligning with people and organizations that could one day cause damage to their brands.
Likely, this scanning of media sources is being done manually, which means they’re all doing it differently. Some don’t bother to do this kind of check at all if their potential stakeholders have a strong reputation or track record. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: this is never a good idea.
Data, data, data - everywhere
In a world where digital data is increasing faster than the human brain can comprehend, people are struggling to find the needle in an ever-growing haystack of open source intelligence (OSINT). And, if they’re trying to find that needle manually, well, good luck with that.
Billions of historical records are already available online and millions more are being added daily. There is no shortage of sources from which to find adverse information. In addition to news articles, data sources include government records and archives, blogs, tweets, comments, online forums, video and audio files.
The ubiquity of data is the obvious challenge. Others abound, including a relatively recent one whereby some governments (Australia and Canada) have introduced legislation requiring Big Tech firms to compensate media organizations for hosting news links on their platforms. Some of these tech giants, such as Google and Meta, have refused to do so, choosing instead to remove news links to local audiences in Canada, for example, in protest of Bill C-18, Canada’s Online News Act.
Reputation risk is a strategic threat
Regardless of these challenges, the need has never been greater for organizations to safeguard their brands and reputations. Regulated institutions, such as financial services firms with fiduciary responsibilities, are sometimes required or encouraged by regulators worldwide to include adverse media screening in their due diligence frameworks. Failure to comply can result in hefty regulatory penalties in some jurisdictions. These fines can also lead to additional hits to their reputations.
Outside of regulatory obligations, most organizations know that it’s good practice to ensure they’re aligning with the right stakeholders. Simply put, reputation risk can have significant brand-damaging impacts, such as the erosion of shareholder value. It is widely recognized as a strategic threat that can erode trust.
Conversely, high-trust relationships with customers, vendors, investors, employees and all other key stakeholders yield tangible results: customer and employee loyalty, accelerated growth, increased shareholder value, strong brand, less regulatory scrutiny.
Adverse media as a service (AMaaS)
This is where Adverse Media as a Service comes into play. While the purpose for needing adverse news screening may differ between functions, they all want the same thing: A simple, straightforward approach to getting the relevant information they need.
Imagine a single source of adverse media analysis integrated within the fabric of organization. One that is Cloud-delivered, easy to use while saving the average researcher, analyst or investigator hours of time normally spent on manual online search.
AMaaS allows for the democratization of reputational risk resiliency, empowering teams across an organization to behave as chief risk officers, protecting the business from potentially harmful reputation risk.
AI at the service of humans
Valital’s award-winning AI-powered adverse media solution brings the benefits of AMaaS to the forefront:
Valital is a real-time adverse media analysis tool, using artificial intelligence and Natural Language Processing to help businesses gain better stakeholder intelligence on the people and organizations they choose to work with. Valital’s AI models scour the internet in real-time to extract, filter and analyze data, assessing content and context, the role of the individual, source credibility and the type of misconduct. Valital organizes the analysis into easy-to-understand, actionable classifications to drive efficiency. Users can choose to focus immediately on financial crimes or home in on other forms of misconduct, such as violence, harassment, discrimination and so on. Perhaps they’re more concerned with an organization’s ESG footprint.
Valital offers monitoring and alerts that provide users with peace of mind and increased confidence.
Adverse media monitoring is a form of insurance against potential and unexpected reputational damage. Virtually every team, department or function within both regulated and non-regulated organizations need a systematic, easy-to-use, efficient tool for helping to evaluate business stakeholders. Some teams need adverse media alone to help with their due diligence. Others need it as a complementary tool to existing ones required by regulators, such as sanctions lists, watchlists, PEPs lists, etc. Within AML teams, for example, they can use AMaaS from the initial alert all the way to the in-depth investigation.
AMaaS allows teams to quickly and efficiently identify conduct from potential stakeholders that could be cause for concern. By integrating a single source of misconduct truth across the entire organization, companies can help ensure due diligence is not left solely to compliance officers and risk management professionals.