How To Stop A Rumor About You on Social Media

Your life is over! How could it go on now that something so embarrassing has gone viral? To top it all off, you keep seeing more and more people write things about you that are completely false. BIG YIKES. But wait, is your life really over? Well no, otherwise you wouldn’t be googling how to deal with this stressful situation. I’m going to cover 12 ways to respond to those haters.

  1. Ok I get it, you’re shook. But don’t react with all those feelings and start going off on everyone, it will only make an already bad situation worse. Take a few deep breaths, in through your nose...out through your mouth, stay calm and read on. 

  2. You might be feeling tempted to get revenge but unfortunately, this won’t work either and will only lengthen the amount of time the lies about you circulate. 

  3. Remember, the more important the subject matter to the individuals circulating the rumors, the more likely they are to spread it. Research tells us people are more likely to believe negative rumors than positive ones. Additionally, false information on social media spreads faster and wider than the truth, so brace yourself for the ride. The light at the end of the tunnel? As time goes on, people have a tendency to debunk false rumors and start supporting information that is true. 

  4. Which brings me to a very important next point. Going dark or staying silent while the rumors fester is a bad idea because it gives the impression you don’t have any evidence to the contrary of the rumors being spread.   

  5. Stand up for yourself without seeming defensive. It’s important to respond matter-of-factly and provide evidence when possible. Be clear, concise and squash that rumor as quickly as possible.  

  6. While this might seem counter-intuitive, broadcasting the rumor you sniffed out preemptively on multiple platforms, gives you power over the rumor itself. Air it out and make it clear that it is only a rumor. You could also choose to follow up with something honest about who you are or your values in order to show integrity.

  7. Remember to respond to individual people circulating the falsehoods about you so they feel like your response is addressed to them specifically. They will be less inclined to continue once they understand your viewpoint. 

  8. Get to the source- how did it start and does this rumor about you have any basis at all in reality? Having this information will allow you to clarify the truth. 

  9. I already told you seeking revenge won’t work, however if you can find out where this all started, respectfully confronting the source of these caps could be in your best interest. 

  10. Remember to seek support while you’re going through all of this. Reach out to your friends and family and let them know what is happening and how you are feeling about all of it. Let them support you in any way they can. 

  11. If nothing seems to be working even after all these efforts and you’re still feeling shook, it is time to  (dare I say this?) take a social media break. The idea is to stop exposing yourself to the hateful messages. You won’t need to do this for eternity! Make a list of other ways to spend your time and try it out for a week. You may surprise yourself with how much better you start feeling.

  12. Last but not least, remember that even the worst rumors eventually die down. People get bored and they move on. So if you can rely on nothing else, rely on time! Take a deep breath and remind yourself you are strong, you are resilient and this will all pass eventually. 

Conclusion: At a time when our social lives have gone virtual, rumors on social media can feel truly devastating. Yet there are specific actions we can take to mitigate the impact. Responding to the rumors calmly and with evidence to the contrary, will help shorten the amount of time those falsehoods circulate. Remember to seek support from your friends and family because this is not something you need to go through alone. Eventually, research tells us people start to embrace the truth you’ve broadcasted and the rumor dies a slow, uneventful death. Take a deep breath and remind yourself you too will get through this.

Irene L. Barades is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and proud owner of Rewire & Renew Psychotherapy Services, LLC.