While death hoaxes are one of the most popular forms of digital assassination, that rumor can be simply cleared up with public appearance. It's a declaration of the quite obvious rumor. But negativity surrounding a product or a company can be more difficult to clear up.
So who is being attacked and why?
When things come across the Internet, the original source of the information can be difficult to ascertain, and many won’t even try. People will simply re tweet and re post information without checking for accuracy. The speed and magnitude is a dramatic change today. As a result, corporations and small businesses need to be prepared to protect their products and brands.
The credibility of information is being questioned and behavioral changes in society will also start to change. Online forums are a breeding ground for this type of trouble. These online hashing grounds allow consumers to simple vent and give their opinion. It can be difficult to tell whether the comments are not being made from a disgruntled employee, a competitor or simply a person wanting to stir the pot.
A recently published book, “Digital Assassination” discusses the seven swords of digital assassination and the seven shields to defend against it. You want to know what's being said about you and your company. Google Alert is able to put an application in place at no cost to give you notice when your name, company or product is included in any post. A simple email is sent anytime your name is mentioned online.
If you've made a mistake, admit it and explain what you're doing to correct it. Don't attack the attacker but rather explain why it's incorrect and clarify it. Stay on the forefront of potential damaging information being transferred to other customers. It is best to constantly be aware of any and all situation with business partners, employees and customers. Notice disgruntled components and don't let yourself become a victim of slanderous attacks, especially those that could be easily preventable.
You may never really know who the attacker is, as it could be and individual or a group. It's becoming easier for hackers to take advantage of simple technology to sabotage good names. These digital attacks are going to continue to become more troublesome. The best offense is a good defense. When it happens, get on top of it as soon as possible and take control of the situation. And always refute if necessary. Legally, in terms of liability and slander, it's very difficult to prosecute.
In short, the best way to protect your brand from allegations and attacks is stay on a consistent message in every channel. Don’t worry about addressing an erroneous attacker directly, but instead focus on the assets you have that prove the information false. If you’re message is consistent, it becomes that much more difficult to challenge.
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