How to Exorcise Trolls Defaming Your Small Business
It’s the pandemic, and you just got laid off from work. You brush things off and decide to start a baking business. Naturally, you promote your baked goods on a page you created on Facebook, and curate the most professional-looking photos of your goods on Instagram. You easily get to 1,000 followers, and then you hit a snag: a very noisy and uncouth troll posting cyber libel on your page.
You start to question the quality of your own products, but you were pretty sure you made those sourdoughs perfectly. After all, you were head of quality control at your previous job.
“I just spat what appears to be pieces of broken toothpicks from your supposedly high-quality sourdoughs!” wrote the troll.
When you checked the troll’s profile, it has 52 friends, a single profile photo, and no Facebook activity.
What bothers you most is how the troll had posted versions of this comment all over your social media campaigns, with photos of the alleged toothpicks he spat from your bread, and people are starting to believe him.
Trolls are spawns of Satan who want to watch your startup business burn to the ground for no apparent reason. Believe us, they exist, and you better be prepared for them.
Here are proven ways to handle cyber libel or online trolls defaming your business.
1| Do not engage trolls in a public fight.
In most cases, the public will side with the troll, and the anger you will project will just backfire on your business, and you may never recover from it. Allow your emotions to simmer down and collect yourself before crafting a positive reply. Although you know you are being trolled, lay down facts (because facts cannot be contradicted) and offer a goodwill package as a demonstration of your confidence in your products.
Your spiel could be as simple as, “Hi, (Troll)! Thank you for reaching out. We value your comments. We are sorry you did not enjoy our (product name). Our bread is produced in a tightly controlled environment to ensure it is safe and delicious to eat. Allow us to send you a box of our various bread for you to try.”
2| Ignore them and hide their comments.
Many trolls are attention seekers who feel powerful when they affect an organization. Do not feed their lust for attention and just hide their comments if you feel these are baseless. Online abusers will usually leave you alone if they feel they have no effect on you.
3| Collect evidence of their cyber libel or online abuse.
Thankfully, businesses are protected by the Anti-Cybercrime Law or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. That means you are protected against these very trolls who want to ruin your business’ reputation.
Take screenshots of all the defamatory comments and posts, including messages and e-mails. Your claims of cyber libel will be taken more seriously if you document these things. Seek legal advice to determine whether the posts are defamatory.