When the trolls come out to play

Bias, speculation and misinformation travel faster than the speed of light – certainly a lot faster the truth. It’s not uncommon to go to bed and wake up to find your organisation has been slandered all over the internet in the intervening hours. And, with the lockdown, some organisations have found those trolls busier than ever.

You’ve essentially got three options:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Respond
  3. Hide or delete comment

While in most cases it’s best to ignore the odd moaner, if a topic has grown some legs, a simple way is to respond with a general post stating factual information (rather than addressing specific sources). These should be focused with a message of concern for any people involved as well as any organisation involved. Don’t embellish or use too much emotion – and, if needed, check in with your legal team.

As a bonus, organisations often find that by saying nothing, you’ll find other members of your audience will come in to respond to negative comments (we love those people). Brand win.

You can hide the comment. Hiding a comment on Facebook means the comment still appears to the commenter and their friends but to everyone else, it disappears.

Before you hide it though, take a pause. Everyone can expect some negative comments – even our most loved brands. While your first instinct might be to hide the comment, consider whether this situation is actually an opportunity. Could you turn a bad customer experience into a positive outcome? This might be an opportunity to address the comment head-on and show others that your organisation is able to step up and tackle the hard issues.

Always delete comments if they’re spam, offensive, have been reported by users or are from known trolls out for a bit of ‘fun’. If it continues, ban the troll from your page.

If, heaven forbid, the troll is an employee, then hopefully you’ll already have a good social media policy in place which outlines what the company’s expectations are. Either way, you need to take it offline to discuss with the employee – and get yourself a social media policy (we can help with that if you need).