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Can online criticism work to your advantage?

Woman with thumbs down

Can online criticism work to your advantage?

It’s generally not nice to get lampooned on social media. It’s one thing if someone writes an angry letter or makes a frustrated phone call, as that can be dealt with person to person, but when it’s on Facebook, Twitter, or a review website like TripAdvisor, it’s there for everyone to see. We’ve written before on possible ways to deal with negative comments online.

However, what if the criticism is completely unfair, and reflects worse on the person making it than it does on you? Are there certain types of people you don’t really want to be getting praise from, and if so, can their criticism effectively act as an endorsement?

A recent social media strategy from the campaign group Stop Funding Hate has got me wondering this. The group encourages companies to stop advertising in publications it deems to be producing hateful content, including The Daily Mail and The Sun, citing a 2015 statement from the UN’s Human Rights Chief calling for the UK to tackle media hate speech. The campaign has been successful in convincing numerous companies to withdraw ads from these sources, and become what it calls “ethical advertisers”.

One person who doesn’t support this work, however, is controversial Good Morning Britain co-host and former News of the World editor Piers Morgan. Revelling in his trademark pantomime villain status, he tweeted this about the campaign in 2017:

Over the last couple of weeks, Stop Funding Hate has decided to resurrect Morgan’s critique and see if it can be used as a drive to raise awareness and gain support:

It seems to have been a success. As of Tuesday, the campaign credits a total of £20,000 in donations to people’s reactions to Morgan’s tweet, and has even started using the hashtag #InspiredByPiers as it seeks to get at least 100 people to make a donation in his name.

This shows that the public will often get behind a cause in defiance, and that a company can turn a cheap shot back on the perpetrator. With the original tweet being nearly two years old, it’s also a reminder of the value of recycling content, and that something that originally made a minimal impression can have a much greater effect at a later date.

Does this suggest that perhaps everybody should provide poor service to Piers Morgan? When he inevitably rants about it on Twitter, it might well only serve to curry favour among those who agree with the ‘Piers Moron’ moniker bestowed on him by the satirical magazine Private Eye.

John Murray

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