Attack of the Trolls – dealing with problem users on social networks.
How would you handle trolls on your social media platforms?
A group of influential MPs is taking Twitter bosses to task over what they see as a failure to stop trolling on the platform. Following rape threats to MP Stella Creasy by a Twitter “troll”, it’s become clear that the network is ill-equipped to deal with incidents of sustained harassment and threat.
The Internet’s days as a lawless frontier land are numbered. In fact, laws around threat and harassment seem to hold more sway online than they do “in real life”. We’ve seen that born out in occurrences like the “Twitter joke trial”, where an off-the-cuff remark was taken so seriously by law enforcement that the accused faced fines and the loss of his job.
As social media users, we’re becoming more aware of the need to moderate our own content. What we intend to be private exchanges are whispered within earshot of billions. Screenshots mean that nothing is truly private or restricted. Sensational “outings” of clandestine bloggers go to prove that in the digital world, we can never be truly anonymous.
As a business, to what extent are you responsible for user-generated content on your websites and forums? How about your social media pages? How can businesses handle trolls on social networks? Here are our top 3 tips for doing just that.
1. – Block and ignore
If a user has gone beyond being an angry customer and just descended into abuse, name-calling and so on, then there is no use or point in engaging with them. If you can block, then do so. If you can’t, just decline to reply, and delete their comments.
2. -Change the subject – focus on the positive
Most people online and on your network will have a positive approach. Focus on those users and on creating positive discussion. Sometimes you’ll be engaging with a challenging user and it can be worth trying to steer the discussion towards a positive aspect of the issue, but beware of coming across as patronizing.
3. – Have a policy
Have a set of guidelines for what you will and won’t allow for users in terms of language, visual content, and so on. This works in 2 ways – it lets users know what’s expected of them, and it lets you be clear in your decision when you choose to block a user.
Need help with dealing difficult users on social networks? Contact My Social Agency for professional advice on all aspects of social media management.