Moderating Social Media and Digital Trolls

Social media has created giant platforms for users to say what they want to whomever they want, creating a major issue for social media companies and users. Social media companies want to create a pleasant online environment for users, yet also want to be seen as upholding the American value of free speech. For years, there have been concerns over the open-forum, wild-west environment on the internet, but recently, calls for blocking certain kinds of speech on social media have grown. Sites like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have developed tools for users to moderate the speech that appears on their pages.


What is a “troll”?

An internet “troll” is someone engaging with online communities specifically to bother other users with inflammatory, off-topic or hurtful posts. Trolls may simply sound like a nuisance, but they can pose a major problem for your camp if they decide your Facebook Page is the next target.

Nearly every industry is realizing the importance of good online reviews, including camps. A positive review can result in a valuable new lead and hopefully a new camper next summer. Negative reviews can happen, but unfortunately, some on the internet are using review functions to attack businesses, leaving a tainted reputation and a feeling of helplessness. Additionally, trolls may leave unwanted, inappropriate comments on your posts. Thankfully, there are a few ways to manage the issues posed by trolls.

Each platform has slightly different policies and functions, but there are useful moderation filters to hide such language. Facebook offers the ability to delete comments, block certain words, report users and a few other incredibly helpful functions. Page Admins can take these actions in just a few steps. Here are a few links explaining how:

  1. How to block specific words and adjust the profanity filter on Facebook
  2. How to delete or hide comments on your posts
  3. How to ban or unban someone from your Facebook Page
  4. How to turn Recommendations on or off for your Page

Things to keep in mind:

These are all helpful tools to protect against online attacks; however, there are a few things to be aware of before taking action. We recommend banning anyone that repeatedly publishes spam or harmful content on your page. When someone is banned, they can still share posts from your Page, but they cannot like or comment on your posts or publish, message or like your Page. Additionally, hiding a comment still leaves it visible to the person who wrote it and their friends, but your followers cannot see it. Deleting a comment removes it permanently from the post so no one can see it. 

Facebook Recommendations is an extremely useful business tool to build your reputation and gain trust. It helps clients learn more about your camp and can make your Page easier to find in a Facebook search. When someone is leaving hate speech or trolling your camp through recommendations, you have the option to turn Recommendations off and remove the rating and Recommendations from your Page. You should also report a Recommendation for removal if it doesn’t follow Facebook’s Community Standards or focus on the product or service offered by the business.

Unfortunately, your Instagram posts are not immune to trolls either. Similar to Facebook, there are a few tools to moderate your Instagram page:

  1. How to filter comments on your posts
  2. How to report an abusive comment
  3. How to turn comments off Instagram posts 

Be proactive.

Some of these steps are best taken proactively like filtering keywords or setting up a profanity filter. Once the hurtful words are out there, it’s already too late because chances are, someone has seen it. However, if a hurtful, profane or negative comment does appear, it is important to act quickly to minimize damage.

Even though it is 2019 and you are in the camping industry, you may have to guard yourself against trolls or religious or ethnically targeted hate speech. Thankfully, social media platforms offer tools to combat these hurtful comments, reviews, and messages. We hope this post helps you feel prepared and that you will never have to go to any of these measures to prevent trolls. Do not hesitate to reach out and alert us of and hurtful or suspicious activity on your pages.