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Why you shouldn't talk to that ugly troll

Why you shouldn't talk to that ugly troll

By Miriam Zolin

An otherwise good day can turn sour when you’re managing the Facebook page at work and THAT message pops up. The message from the individual who doesn’t like what your organisation stands for, has a grudge, wants to yell at someone and chooses Facebook as the way to do it.

Haven’t we all had those days.

Commonsense can help

Opinions are divided about how to respond. Speaking to a colleague last week about how she manages these moments, I thought her approach was very level-headed. “Our loyal followers usually manage that kind of behaviour for us,” she said. “I keep an eye on it and if it gets too bad, I’ll get in touch personally through Facebook and have a chat. I let them know that Facebook is not the place to post that kind of thing.”

Louisa Smith from internet marketing company ZibMedia agrees. She says, she’s found trolls to be much like the schoolyard bullies of the online world. “They thrive on attention and are motivated by eliciting a reaction from their chosen victim.”

Her recommended first line of defence when dealing with them is to simply ignore them. More often than not, she says this works and the troll will move on to their next target.

If you have a personal account, rather than a company or enterprise account, and it’s not going to take too much effort, another sensible line of defence is to delete and block them.

But she warned that blocking, hiding or deleting a troll’s comments won’t always make them go away. Occasionally they return under new identities with a much more ferocious agenda to take down their subject.

Businesses interacting with consumers online in Australia should also understand that deleting such exchanges also destroys public records which they are obliged to preserve in accordance with the Public Records Act 1973 (the Act). It’s a good idea to check out what your responsibilities are for record-keeping in your state.

Social media policy

Key principles for government employees are a requirement for transparency, enabling citizen participation in government decision-making and making sure that government is accountable.

We need to be aware that anything we do could be the subject of a Freedom of Information request.

So how do we manage the grumpy trolls, who can turn a work day into a nightmare?

The first step is to consult your team’s social media policy.

If your social media doesn’t already provide guidance about what to do in these situations, then it’s time to get your policy reviewed. It should be clear what your organisation will tolerate, how you will respond and who needs to approve any action that is taken in response to abusive or otherwise troll-like behaviour.

According to Louisa, there are several ways to enforce your organisation’s social media policy, including the appointment of a moderator and monitoring tools such as Google Alerts and Mention to track what is being said online about your brand. It’s also a great way to track consumer sentiment during specific marketing activities or consumer response to a crisis that may have a commercial impact on your business.

This is when archiving tools such as Brolly come in handy, by providing the peace of mind large organisations and Government agencies need to remain compliant with Freedom of Information Act.

Is deletion ever the right answer?

From a records management and legal point of view, deleting a post has repercussions that you need to be aware of. Sure, it gets it out of the public domain. But doesn’t that go against the principles of open Government and transparency?

What happens when you get that FOI request and a deleted post is seemingly impossible to find?

There are instances where deletion may be acceptable – and again we recommend that you refer to your internal social media policy. Generally a policy will allow (with the appropriate approvals) removal of posts where the poster is doing or promoting something illegal, attacking an individual or displaying specific behaviour. Try using common sense again. We are seeing examples of the backlash caused by posts being deleted in the US, and while laws there are significantly different, we do generally follow their trends, so it’s only a matter of time before the argument of hindering free speech makes it to our shores.

Accidents happen!

In the heat of the moment, you’ll find the pressure to delete, hide or – worse still – respond in anger can sometimes get the better of some team members. If that happens it’s definitely an opportunity for training and a policy refresh.

Keeping the records

If you need to delete a post, or it gets deleted accidentally, you’re still required to have the information available for FOI requests.

There’s also a way to save yourself and the team. Archiving social media posts and their related files, links and other key information will make sure you’re meeting your team’s obligations in the world of digital records management compliance and FOI.

And that’s where Brolly comes in. Whether your organisation is communicating via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter –  or all three – we’ve got you covered, with secure, robust archiving that keeps all the files (yes, even videos), all the comments and all the updates.

Talk to us now and stop letting those trolls get you down.

Public records can only be destroyed or otherwise disposed of in accordance with Standards issued under section 12 of Public Records Act 1973 (the Act).