How to Stop Online Trolls Ruining Your Reputation

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Answered by: brian, An Expert in the Security Policies Category
Online trolls can be individuals leaving the occasional inflammatory message or a whole group of people intent on causing damage to your business. They can cause serious problems for businesses, leading to a loss of customers, a decrease in sales and sometimes even legal problems. If you are being harassed or your business has been affected by online trolling, you need to take steps to protect your reputation.

Ignore Inflammatory Messages

Trolls thrive on attention and conflict, and will often increase their harassment of businesses that react to their messages or fight back. While your natural reaction may be to defend your business or deny false accusations, speaking directly to the individual harassing you could make things much worse.

Try to ignore messages intended to bait you into an argument, even when you feel that derogatory or defamatory comments could affect your reputation, as you don't want to give the troll any ammunition to use against you. Remain professional at all times and remember that anything you say online, even though emails and private messages, can be shared publicly.

Report Threats and Abuse

Most social media platforms have a specific policy and online safety team for dealing with harassment, abuse and threats of violence. Reporting abusive messages to the platform's safety team is the first step in dealing with persistent trolls. The team will investigate and take action against the individuals concerned, sometimes suspending or closing their accounts. To stop online trolls, defamatory comments and false claims should also be removed.

However, if threats of violence or other criminal acts are involved, you should also report the incidents to the police. Often, trolls engage in abusive and threatening behavior because they feel empowered by the anonymity of the Internet. A visit from the police is usually enough to make them realize there could be consequences to their actions.

Speak to the Wider Community

While it's usually best to avoid responding directly to the troll, you can reduce the damage caused by false accusations and defamatory comments by speaking to the wider community about your experience of harassment. Tell your followers about the abuse you have been receiving and any false claims or harmful statements that have been made.

Allow people to ask questions and engage in discussion about your experience, as this can give your customers a chance to voice any concerns about public accusations and will help to counteract negative publicity. The troll may try to join the conversation, but it's important to keep ignoring their messages. The wider community will often be supportive of businesses that are honest about online abuse, as many social media users have experienced similar harassment.

Online abuse, harassment and trolling can have a devastating impact on businesses, potentially ruining their reputation. Dealing with the problem quickly and effectively is the key to protecting your reputation and preventing further problems. Ignoring inflammatory messages, reporting abuse or harassment and speaking to the wider community about your experience are the keys to protecting your business and stop online trolls.

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