Trolls like trouble. Trolls can post lies and accusations about you online, which could cost you job opportunities let alone your reputation.
“Trolls are people who mock and show disrespect to a person or company. Sometimes the person is jealous or feels wronged by whoever they’re trolling, but more often than not, there’s no motive other than a person wants to voice a contrary opinion for attention. The fact that they can do it behind an anonymous screen name gives them the power to say whatever they want with no repercussions,” technology and new media entrepreneur Sloane Berry of BPM Group tells MadameNoire.
And one troll made the life of Surya Panditi, Cisco’s senior vice president and general manager of Service Provider Networking Group, a living hell. He has been trying in vain for two years to have a website hosted on WordPress taken down. The website accused of him of being incompetent, of being corrupt, and said he had an affair. With no other recourse, Panditi he has hired lawyer.
“At first, I thought, it would go away. Who really cares about my personal life?” Panditi tells Business Insider. “But it lingered and I needed to get someone like Hank to help me. It was hurting me in terms of personal life and professional life, these false accusations.”
Beware. Not only corporate executives are victims of this type of cyber bullying. Everyday folks are as well. “If you produce anything of note, you’re going to have trolls. Every public figure is bound to have someone they rub the wrong way who is willing to bash them. The Internet is a mass media platform and not everyone will like what you put out there,” says Berry.
And if you are a small business owner, a troll could cause you major problems. “Social media gives power to the people and some trolling Yelp ads or rankings on places like Angie’s List could affect your company’s bottom line,” notes Berry. “If you have consistently bad ratings from someone who is bitter for you or giving bad ratings for the sake of it, you should report it. If a troll takes your identity and fills the Internet with negative comments so that when you search for your name, you should hire a SEO firm to remarket your image as a professional.”
If you are being trolled file a report. “First be sure to report them for misconduct on whatever platform they interact with you, whether it’s email, Facebook, Twitter, or wherever,” advises Berry. Block them, if possible. “There’s no point in getting too concerned about their business, because they have made up their mind and are passionate enough to send you hate,” she adds.
Berry does advise not dealing with a troll publicly. “Don’t stoop to the troll’s level. If it’s in a public forum, it makes you look bad in the long run. You’re better off not even acknowledging someone who is racist or sexist or disrespectful. Every business and public figure who goes on the Internet is bound to run into a troll, and it’s a waste of time and resources to try to please everyone,” she points out.