The past few months have been a whirlwind for celebrities on social media—when your life is in the public eye, it’s almost expected that people can rally around you en masse online. The problem is, today we all live in the public eye, celebrity or not, and anyone’s online presence can blow up overnight—or in a span of a couple hours—in some controversy. So what can recent celebrity cases teach us about comment moderation for protecting one’s reputation or mental health?
Justin Bieber is probably the shining example of drastic measures taken in response to internet trolls. As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Biebs quit Instagram completely following hateful comments directed at his girlfriend, Sofia Richie. Initially, he threatened to leave if the abuse continued—breaking the internet’s cardinal rule not to feed the trolls—only to prompt his ex, Selena Gomez, to lionize the anti-Richie campaign by delivering some snark herself. To make matters worse, everyone piled onto the hate train with a hashtag: #JustinDeactivatedParty.
A similar public-dispute-turned-trollfest emerged on National Snake Day, the infamous midsummer evening that Kim Kardashian West released a video of Taylor Swift granting Kanye West permission via phone to mention her in his song “Famous.” This reveal shed an entirely new light on the long-running beef between Swift and West, as she’d long claimed that she had not in fact signed off on the lyric after the song’s premiere. West fans and Swift detractors snapped at the news, culminating in the #KimExposedTaylorParty hashtag discussion that dissected Swift’s remarks and celebrated Kim. The night took a huge hit on Swift’s reputation, casting her as a liar and “professional victim” fishing for pity.
How can you “shake it off” if met with a social media crisis? First, don’t step into the fray—feeding the trolls only empowers them to sling more mud at you. Should a hashtag emerge, or discussion around a certain event (like simultaneous mentions of West and Swift), tune the comments out with a comment moderation tool. Smart Moderation is a great way to remove negative comments from your profiles so you can wrangle some control of the conversation and avoid intense periods of abuse—without having to go nuclear and deactivate your Instagram or Facebook accounts. Thanks to natural language processing, Smart Moderation is more sophisticated than other tools and can be trained and told how to operate as if it were a human assistant. This means you can adapt it to a specific crisis or threat to your reputation and moderate comments accordingly.
This isn’t about censoring or sweeping discussion under the rug—there are plenty of outlets for people to have their say. But with a tool like Smart Moderation, you can keep your profile a safe space away from hate directed at you. When Amy Schumer recently met blowback from doing a parody video of Beyoncé’s iconic single “Formation,” she didn’t fight back—she simply shrugged off the criticism on Instagram, established her own supportive hashtag and sashayed away to continue doing what she does. With the right moderation software, you can do the same and walk away from conflict with a clear and level head.
Do you have a social media disaster plan, or have you dealt with trolls in the past? Let us know your strategies—you might save a life, or at least an account from deactivation.