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'Don't let the social media trolls bring your business down,' warns boss

PUBLISHED: 15:50 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:01 23 May 2019

Sophie Lissauer, pictured third from left with other members of staff at Concertus. Pic: Concertus.

Sophie Lissauer, pictured third from left with other members of staff at Concertus. Pic: Concertus.

Firms need to stick together against online bullies, according to an employee at an East Anglian firm with 11 staff trained to deal with the growing problem.

Sophie Lissauer, a mental health first aider at Concertus. Pic: Concertus.Sophie Lissauer, a mental health first aider at Concertus. Pic: Concertus.

Sophie Lissauer, a mental health first aider and senior business assistant at design and property consultancy Concertus, spoke for the firm about an incident after it had been promoting good employment practices online it received a backlash from one commentator.

The troll had criticised Concertus for some of its practices involving organising team nights out and providing recreation such as a pool table in the workplace.

Sophie, who is trained to offer colleagues support and advice in such matters, said no one knew at Concertus who the commentator was.

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"The increased accessibility and ability to connect on social media means that anything you, as a company employee posts, even if it's honest and truthful, is visible for the whole world to comment on, judge or criticise.

"However, as long as what you are posting is real and not offensive, then as a business you shouldn't be afraid to showcase your colleagues' or work's success. But we as organisations need to stick together."

Concertus, based in Ipswich, is just one of a number of businesses facing the problem of trolls when posting online. It comes after Norfolk blogger Rebecca Fisher, who writes under the name The Coastal Mummy, told this newspaper how she was branded "scruffy" and "fake" after sharing her news of receiving an award.

One CEO who works for an East Anglian firm, who did not want to be named, said he could not divulge personal information online because of being targeted by trolls commenting on his family.

Another CEO of a Norwich firm, did not want to be named because they are currently in the midst of taking legal action. A spokesman for the firm said one commentator made repeated nasty comments online after it published a report about its recent success. The offending comments concerned accusations about the company's financial position.

"The problem is people think they can say whatever they like on social media and it's not always easy to know who the person is but we did find out and she now faces her job being put at risk as a result," he aaid.

Other businesses have taken to social media and some have even broadcast videos on platforms like LinkedIn to defend themselves.

Kristian Jones, a lawyer with Norwich-based Ashburnham solicitors, advised businesses to instruct a solicitor to issue a warning letter to the commentator asking for an offensive comment to be taken down or amended. If that didn't work, the next step would be to consider taking action to sue the commentator for defamation.

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"There are exceptions but generally it is not enough if the comment is just an insult, it needs to adversely affect the person's reputation, potentially causing financial harm and the person who said it would have a defence if the statement can be proven to be true."

Have you had a problem with social media bullies? Email caroline.culot@archant.co.uk or tweet @edpbusiness

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