07.02.2018 (1301 days ago)

Continued Brutality in the Internet

Continued Brutality in the Internet
1301 days ago 8 comments Categories: Food Blogs Tags:


I have often written about the effect baseless online reviews have had on me and my colleagues. This week it happened to friends of mine, in a particularly vicious way, and it made me extremely angry.



There is a Facebook page called Tri-State Restaurant Club. It can be very informative at times. But, I have also found that people can be very vicious on the site. They tend to write reviews with little or no regard for the effect it might have on a small business.


Last week I happened to be on the site and noticed a particularly vicious review about a restaurant I frequent almost once a week. In fact, I even wrote a blog about this restaurant as my local place where, “everybody knows my name.” The review involved a catering order which the complainant asked to be delivered by 6:00 (which it admittedly was) but was cold and the cheese congealed (Italian food) when it was opened at 8:00 that evening, two hours after delivery. The writer also complained that when he showed up at the restaurant several nights later on a Friday night at 7:00 p.m. (one of their busiest times) he was appalled that the owner requested that they discuss his complaints at another time.



What infuriated me most about the post was the plethora of comments that came after the post. People who had, admittedly, never been to the restaurant wrote their own negative comments and promised never to go that restaurant.



By the time I posted on the site and pointed out the inconsistencies in the initial review and my own positive experiences over twenty years, there was probably about fifty negative comments all from people who had clearly never been to the restaurant. And when the owner posted her side of the story, i.e. she cannot be responsible for the temperature of food that is left unopened for two hours and she had promised to speak to the complainant at a less hectic time, people who have never met her and had no personal knowledge of what actually occurred viciously attacked her as a liar.



To me, the initial attack and the comments that came after was analogous to a mob mentality. There was no reason for people who had absolutely no experience with the restaurant to contribute to the posting. What is it about the internet that seems to encourage such brutal, unprovoked attacks? And, more importantly, what can small business owners, like me (who ethically cannot even respond to them) and my restaurant owner friends do about them?


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