Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt ( English for fear, uncertainty and doubt ), usually abbreviated as FUD , one is advertising or communication strategy called that serves the targeted control of a (usually economic or political) competitors, especially if this date has a good image . The formula is also used to comment on attempts at intimidation by companies, associations or state authorities.

Gene Amdahl is said to have coined this term after he left IBM to found his own company, Amdahl Corporation . At the time, he is said to have said about IBM salespeople that it was fear, uncertainty and doubt that they conveyed to potential Amdahl customers.


The aim is to arouse fear, uncertainty and doubts about a competitor or its products ( propaganda ) in the recipient of the information (e.g. customers, voters ). This exploits the fact that people's feelings of fear are irrational and that even demonstrably incorrect information can lead to uncertainty.


The strategy of systematically sowing doubts about scientific knowledge was introduced by the tobacco industry and has been used for several decades to make political decisions on environmental issues such as B. to delay climate protection . One uses more targeted, but nevertheless subtle and rather subliminal disinformation, for example in press releases. These are often disseminated via apparently neutral sources (“ third-party strategy ”) whose connection to the actual author is not immediately apparent.

Scare tactics or misinformation to prevent certain actions are also part of the FUD. Here the respective competitor is the victim, the recipient of information is only a means to an end. Products are sometimes announced prematurely just to discourage customers from buying competing products ( vaporware ).

Proponents of free content occasionally prove that alleged rights holders who claim special property rights are trying to intimidate users through an FUD strategy and prevent them from using works that are inherently free.

FUD can also be used in litigation, especially in connection with high amounts in dispute and inexperienced opponents. Here, information recipients and victims form a unit, for example in the event of a wave of warnings against private operators of websites.


One possible defense against all of these types of attack is the victim's publication of the facts.

In German, the terms Hetz- or Schmutzkampagne come close to the meaning of FUD, which in the business area can be classified as unfair competition .


In 2005 the Swiss entrepreneur and programmer Michael Wechner made a documentary entitled FUD - Fear Uncertainty Doubt , in which a picture of the mood of the open source scene is drawn using the example of the Apache Group .

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jonathan M. Samet, Alistair Woodward: National Government Denial of Climate Change and State and Local Public Health Action in a Federalist System . In: American Journal of Public Health . tape 108 , S2, 2018, pp. S112 f ., doi : 10.2105 / AJPH.2018.304395 .