April 11, 2013 By David Chemago
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Unfortunately At The Time Of This Writing....Sometimes Not A Lot.
There has been an alarming trend in Corporate Cyber Bullying that is affecting many businesses. As a Private Investigator in Vancouver Canada, I am seeing a sharp increase in clients who contact me looking for help having been a victim of corporate cyber bullying.
The internet is a great place for people to go and do things anonymously (well not really, we are tracked everywhere we go), and the attraction for people to go and look up and look at things privately has been a huge factor in making the inter-web world what it is today.
There are many great things about this anonymity, but with the good comes the bad.
One of the "bad" things about this anonymity, is that if you do not like someone or their business, you can do incredible damage to them by pressing plastic buttons while sitting in your moms basement.
You Have Worked Hard To Grow Your Business And Establish Your Brand-When People Go Too Far
You arrive at work one day to have an employee or friend rush over to you to tell you someone has written something terrible about you and posted it on the internet. Your adrenaline kicks in, you go into your office and find the post. You may get angry, you may cry, you will certainly be embarrassed and shocked, and may feel like your world is coming to an end.
Take a deep breath, you can get through this.
What To Do About Those Anonymous Posts-To Respond Or Not Respond?
The first thing to do is not do anything until you are calm. Don't get caught up in their game and post something yourself while angry or upset. You need to think things through with a clear head.
In some instances depending on the severity, you may need to discuss the issue with a lawyer, private investigator, close friends, business associates, or an image consultant.
My personal belief is that in most cases you should respond, but respond in a way that is professional. In certain circumstances a response may not be the best idea and if serious enough should be brought to the attention of your local police.
I have successfully assisted clients in getting posts, comments, and fake company pages off of Craigslist, Facebook, Yelp, and other sites. Most sites have policies regarding harassment but some do not. You will need to contact each one after reading their terms of service and ask that the offensive post, comment, or page be taken down. This is not that easy sometimes and unfortunately some sites will refuse.
If there is solid evidence of a defamation of character you should contact a lawyer that is experienced in this area. If it is of a threatening nature you need to call the police. Either way, take a screen shot or print out the offensive material and link for future evidence.
Why Do People Corporate Cyber Bully? Who Are These People?
For whatever reason, these people decide they want to hurt your business, and an unfortunate trend is the attacks are becoming personal.
I have seen very personal. damaging, and outright lies about companies and individuals through blogs, posts, comments, and fake Facebook company pages. Some of which would have taken many hours of dedicated work to create.
Why Do Negative Comments Score High In Search Engines?
People Click On Them. There is something about us all that is interested in watching others failing in something. It is for this same reason that we look at people getting speeding tickets on the side of the road, watch YouTube videos of people hurting themselves, or celebrities getting into trouble. (Do a quick Google Search of Lindsay Lohan and you will see what I am talking about).
How Can You Find Out Who They Are?
Many clients have a good idea who these people are and an Investigator who is trained in Cyber Intelligence may be able to trace them on the web.
I won't get into how this is done as us PI's need to make a living....
That being said if someone really knows how to cover their tracks you will never know without a court order.
You will need a court order for the site of the offence to release the IP address of the individual or company, then possibly another to get the IP address name from the internet service provider. Even then there are ways to mask IP addresses and you may never get the proof you need to prosecute.
At the end of the day it is always best to get on with your life and your business. You can attempt to get the post removed, write a witty reply, or just ignore it and let karma do its thing.