Monday, June 16, 2008

Cyberslander: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You


About a month ago The HR Daily Advisor had two articles on dealing with Cyberslander. I had not really thought about it much but listening to the news today there was the news feature about the one woman who set up a MySpace page to harass a teen who had been friends with her daughter. So this made me perk up when going through some old articles the term Cyberslander popped up.


The HR Daily Advisor said that "Cyberslander" refers to attacks against a person or company on the Internet. It generally occurs when, in an online forum, chat room, or blog, anonymous posters make defamatory statements that are tough to trace. Another variation is when they give up trade secrets, salaries, or other sensitive data." Cyberslander can be damaging to both the reputation of the company and its business. But it can be difficult to deal with. According to the article it if often anonymous, ISPs protect their customers and courts are really unsure about how to handle it.


There are somethings the company can do to protect itself. Part II of the article suggested 6 ways to handle cyberslander, also known as digital defamation:


  1. Monitor Google at least once a month for use of the company name.

  2. Have a policy stating that employees may not use company time or equipment to disparage the company, its employees or products and services.

  3. Monitor company computer usuage.

  4. Pay attention to what is being said, this may help determine whether the poster is an insider or and outsider.

  5. Pay attention to other sources and websites to help determine the source.

  6. Consider a lawsuit if either the source is discovered or to force an ISP to reveal the source.

Obviously the HR department will get involved with the policy development, dealing with the poster if they are found to be internal and perhaps some of the external work as well if the cyberslander is having an effect on recruiting.


If you have not been familar with the topic now is the time to pay attention. If you have not been reading blogs you may be missing information. I know that some companies block blogs. Well that may be a mistake. You never know what you may be missing. And what you don't know may be hurting you.

2 comments:

HR Wench said...

I wonder when HR Daily Advisor's parent company (BLR) will run an article on shady business practices such as sending companies "free" binders full of HR info and then sending an outrageous bill for that material 30 to 60 days later hoping it goes straight to accounts payable instead of to the HR department for approval of their "subscription".

Wait. What were we talking about?

Michael D. Haberman, SPHR said...

Wench, a bit off topic, but something I feel is not quite right. Unfortunately they are not the only ones that do it.