Let’s say you have a professional license complaint filed against you and/or your business, and it’s receiving significant press. It’s gaining a lot of traction on social media, and there’s a considerable amount of misinformation circulating. What do you do? The first thing is don’t panic. That’s easier said than done, but try to remain calm. Nobody likes to see their business or their own name dragged through the mud. Unfortunately, in this day and age, people tend to run their mouths as keyboard warriors, thinking nothing will happen. They believe there will be no repercussions if things are said on social media or in the press to oppress members or something along those lines, and it’s not truthful, and you can prove that it’s not truthful. There are measures you can take to prevent that person from defaming your business by running their little fingers all over their keypads.
That is out of our area of law; we stick to just professional license defense. However, there are things that can be done to prevent that person from continuing to spread untruthful things about your business. Now, that takes some time, unfortunately, and during that time, they’re likely to keep running their mouths or running their fingers on their keyboards. So, in the meantime, what can you do? First off, don’t confront the person. Don’t threaten the person. Don’t try to find the person. Nothing like that. You don’t want to do anything that could be misconstrued as harassment, intimidation, or threatening violence. I want to make that abundantly clear; you cannot do that.
What can be done is to do your best to have a statement on your website. Say, “Hey, there have been a lot of rumors flying around the internet about our company and me individually. I just want to make a statement that these are not true, and here’s my statement.” Provide a link to somewhere else, maybe a link to where you would post blogs or whatever the case may be, and address it like that. You can also have that, and maybe if somebody’s putting a lot of stuff in the comment section and posting something on Facebook or wherever, have a link to what I was referring to before on your website to a statement. Go in there and say, “Hey, I just want to make something clear. This is not true. Please visit my website for more information and my explanation as to why that’s not true” and have a link that way. Do whatever you can to try to nip it in the bud professionally because everybody’s going to read it.
If you go in there obviously upset, and I would be the first one to be very unhappy if somebody slandered my name or libeled my name, I would be upset like any other small business owner; I get it. But you can’t match their negative energy with your negative energy because then you can create more negative energy, and it’s going to be a bad look for you. Whereas if you try to take the high road while still addressing it in a professional manner, you are going to get more traction with reasonable people. And believe it or not, there are reasonable people that read stuff on the internet. Unfortunately, there are knuckleheads out there that post a lot of inflammatory stuff, but you want to be speaking to one of the reasonable persons on the internet if there are any, which I think that there are a couple, but you really want to be speaking to more of the reasonable persons out there. So, you want to keep it professional.