Why Starting a Social Media Fight is (Almost Always) Bad for Your Business

When you see adults fighting in public what comes to mind? Unless you’re at an UFC fight, public outbursts (an affray) are generally frowned upon. The same holds...

Does this hold true for blogs, magazines, social media, etc? Yes. “The US Supreme Court has said that “in the context of defamation law, the rights of the institutional media are no greater and no less than those enjoyed by other individuals and organizations engaged in the same activities.”

How to Avoid Social Media Risk and Litigation

As with everything in business, it’s best to exercise a certain amount of decorum.

1. Play nice with your competitors online.

“Trying to gain a competitive edge or take tactical advantage in a business situation by anonymously spreading rumors about, or bashing, a competitor on the internet has a tendency to backfire,” according to Lawyers.com.

“There have been cases where a company successfully sued a competitor for posting negative comments about the company or its products on the internet.”

2. Be careful what you say about other businesses.

Can you be sued if you post disparaging comments on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and so on? Absolutely. Defamation and libel (written words) charges are very real. “Online criticism sparks real world defamation lawsuits” everyday.

3. Take the higher road.

“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” – Anonymous

Instead of exchanging malicious or antagonistic comments on social media networks, learn to take the higher road. If you have concerns, contact the person or company directly and share them. Many times, given the brevity of social media conversations – things (meanings, tone, context) are always left to interpretation.

If you are on the receiving end of less than desirable online comments about yourself or your business, don’t fire back. If someone continues to spam your social network accounts with incorrect or antagonistic comments, take appropriate measures to block the party and take it outside — “offline rather.”

Counter negativity and “bolster your online reputation through the use of personal branding techniques. Create positive content that creates the image you want seen online, and then link to it through your social media profiles.”

Remember, ultimately, what you say about others says a lot about you.


How do you deal with online antagonists looking for a social media “fight”? Let me know in the comments below.

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Photo Credit: MaxMara


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