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How Online Reputation Matters in an Age of Defamation and Cyberbullying

In the digital age, public relations can become a personal requirement. The number of phones among the general public paired with the social media phenomenon puts more than just celebrities under scrutiny. Be it a past mistake or worse a defamatory attack, things have a way of sticking around online and pop up at the worst moments to scare away a new flame or prevent landing your dream job.

While there are many things people wish the internet would forget, perhaps most distressing is someone who has been the victim of an online attack. Bullying and harassment through social media is a major concern in many communities as well as slander and defamation through digital channels. There have always been plenty of websites such as thedirty.com or dontdateaplayer.com with a model of giving users the ability to publicly identify undesirable individuals and expose them for their supposed transgressions. While hiding behind the veil of a service designed to help inform others, the sites overlook the likelihood that many will abuse it in order to defame someone out of spite, particularly when it comes to disgruntled former lovers.

The problem has become severe in some cases according to a Pew Research Center 2017 report, four in ten Americans have experienced harassment online and 62% consider it a major issue. Sometimes it can take a sinister turn and intimate photos or videos are shared online, leaving a lasting stain on a person’s personal and professional life. The news goes wild for leaked celebrity sex tapes, but it happens to normal poeple too — leaked meaning without consent. Revenge porn sites are becoming increasingly targeted by tech companies as a result of various lawsuits.

Online reputation is becoming an increasingly important concern for people in both their personal and professional lives. An embarrassing act from your youth can come back to haunt you when you meet someone new who checks your social media pages. Or perhaps you’ve had a run-in with the law and evidence of the event can be found online. No matter how serious the transgression, it can wreak havoc on your life, especially when taken without context. Professionally it could mean the difference between that dream job and unskilled labour.

According to a Forbes report, about 70% of employers do an online background check on candidates and almost 60% won’t interview someone they can’t find online, so it can be a careful balance.There are a number of services available which cater to helping manage online reputation when these situations arise, so as to assist people in helping leave the past in the past and lead productive lives.

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