Trolls are individuals and groups that use social media and other online platforms to harass, abuse and threaten people. Most trolls target individuals, businesses and organizations in an attempt to gain attention and provoke a reaction. However, the situation can escalate quickly, and lead to altercations that can affect your reputation. Dealing with trolls effectively helps to protect your business from bad publicity.
The best way to deal with people who use social media to harass or threaten you, or your business, is simply to ignore them. Most online trolls use social media to vent their frustrations, which means that they thrive on attention and confrontation. If you respond to their abusive messages, you are feeding their need for attention and they will almost certainly continue to harass you. If, however, you ignore their messages, they will eventually get bored and move on to someone else.
One of the reasons that people use social media and other online platforms to vent their frustrations is that they can hide behind a computer screen. The anonymity provided by the Internet can lower inhibitions, leading people to type things they would never say out loud. Therefore, an effective way to deal with trolls is to publicly expose their abusive comments. With a little detective work you should be able to find other social media accounts, blogs or websites used by the troll, which you can then use to expose their negative activities.
If ignoring and exposing your troll fails to stop their harassment, you can report them to the website’s online safety team. All social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, publish a list of their terms and conditions, stating clearly that harassment, abuse and threats constitute a violation of their online safety policy. Most social media platforms take public safety very seriously, and will deal with trolls swiftly. In some cases, they will ban specific users from using their service.
Trolls use social media and other online platforms to harass businesses and individuals. Responding to trolls can make the problem worse and lead to an escalation of the abuse. In addition, if you engage in a confrontation with a troll, you may find that other people join in and add to the problem. Ignoring trolls, exposing them and reporting their harassment to the online safety team enables you to take control of the situation.
Originally published 01/05/17.