Google up before the beak over cyber bullies

Posted on August 20, 2010

 

Carla FranklinGoogle’s ass is grass, and a former model who wants to take the search giant to court in an effort to unmask online bullies is a lawn mower.

Carla Franklin, a former model, was alerted to several users talking smack about her on Google’s video sharing website YouTube.

Franklin, who goes against the model stereotype by having degrees in biology and psychology, featured in a series of videos made by Columbia Business School and show her giving advice to potential MBA students whilst in Africa.

However, this attracted the ire of YouTube users JoeBloom08, JimmyJean008 and greyspector09, who set about her like a pack of trash-talking WWE wrestlers amidst a particularly furious episode of ‘roid rage. Amongst other slurs and unpleasantries, Franklin was labelled a whore”.

As ever, where there’s blame, there’s a claim, and Franklin is taking Google to court in an effort to unmask her detractors. David Fish, a lawyer representing her, said:

“People hide behind these shields and think they can just post anything.

“Hopefully, we can put a stop to this.”

This case illustrates the minefield that is online reputation management. Of course, a business has every right to defend its reputation, but what if it insults another company or individual? As more businesses are adopting Twitter and Facebook as a way of reaching their audience, a misplaced quote or omission can prove to be calamitous. As well as attracting a lawsuit, such a mistake will quickly top the search engine results from your business. This is not something that mere grovelling can rectify. A solid SEO framework can minimise such negative fallout, but as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. If your business is taking its first faltering steps in social media, such PR disasters can be avoided entirely if you hitch your wagon to that of a reputable search engine optimisation company.

Bear that in mind the next time you’re tempted to call a litigious former model a ‘sea-hag’ in a forum.

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