Social Media Libelous Comments: Can You Stop It?

Social Media Libelous Comments: Can You Stop It?

Linkedin can be one of the most effective methods of connecting with people in your profession.  It is in my opinion the best business networking site in social media.  It has been helpful to me in meeting new people to conduct business with.  The LinkedIn groups are numerous with every subject matter imaginable available. I have joined a number of groups, where I have met wonderful contacts and have gained useful information.

But what happens when one of your group members decides to defame you because they have taken issue with your advice or comment?  What if they are just plain crazy, angry and wanting to destroy your reputation and say whatever they want to your group?  How do you defend yourself without getting involved in a "he-said, she-said" bantering, attempting to defend yourself over false accusations?

This situation recently occurred to me after I started a conversation on one of the LinkedIn sites stating I had contacts in a certain area of business and was offering my services if the project was right.  I spoke with a number of people through LinkedIn who contacted me.  Many of the projects were not ones I could take on.  Others were perfect for my contact base.

It seems that one of the people I associated with was severely disappointed I didn't want to work with her and decided to create a campaign of slanderous comments calling me a con and fraud. She then alerted the group that they should not work with me.  This prompted a few others in the group who I did not take on as clients to join the slaughter, resulting in a nasty exchange of false information that went on for days.

Anyone who would come to my aide they would attack and question their credibility.  A few of these people had gained up on another individual in the group, calling him a fraud.  I know him and he is not a con or a fraud.  Yet, they have been able to get away with this in the group discussion, without repercussion.   This practice is a dangerous path.  It is fine to state your opinion on these chat sites, but one should never call anyone a con, fraud or dishonest based on their own opinion.

I contacted LinkedIn.  It is not as easy to get a comment or group member off the site as it is in Facebook.  I e-mailed the Help center and within 24-hrs they did get back to me with a procedure that gave me instructions on how to cut and paste the derogatory comments and send it to them.  I will do this, yet by the time they render an opinion the damage will already have been done.

Contacting the head of the LinkedIn group is also another method of getting help in dealing with slanderous comments.  I was surprised that head of the group did not intervene during the slaughter.  I have contacted him and will keep you posted on his response and the response of LinkedIn.  This can happen to any of us.  Any crazy person or someone who loathes you can create a negative image for you and your brand.

Be careful in all your correspondence with those you don't know.  Trust your instincts if you think someone is “a bit off" and choose the groups you join, with care.  Also if the administrator of the group is not responsive to libelous behavior, drop out of the group and make sure LinkedIn is aware of the behavior of those that think they can discredit others without repercussion.

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  • The only thing that credibly works is hire a lawyer to threaten to sue. Someone in the right panel will take your money. Which is the whole point; it costs money and you won't get instant results. Now, if it were a copyright violation, the service would have to take the infringing material down in a specified amount of time, but not defamation.

    The other question is whether the people on LinkedIn have to identify themselves sufficiently, that there is an address to which you can send a demand letter to a specific poster. If it is like Wikipedia and people hide behind screen names, lots of luck finding out who they are through their IP addresses. At least the Tribune has my e-mail address, so what I post here is traceable.

  • If it happened to you, it could happen to anyone. This is already a major problem on Amazon and Goodreads, where it's commonplace for a group of bullies to make libelous comments about authors and sellers they don't like. They create blacklists and campaign to damage the reputation and livelihood of anyone who stands up to them. It's quite a racket. The gang of bullies can substantially influence consumer purchases. Instead of disbanding the group, Goodreads supports them, going so far as banning authors for replying to reviewers. The gang members can make outrageous remarks, but the authors' hands are tied since they are told not to reply or defend themselves. I'm curious to know if your attackers are connected to a certain gang -- the tactics you describe are straight from their play book. I agree that the best way to handle the problem is to report incidents to site administrators, and avoid any site that allows unethical or criminal activity to flourish.

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