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.