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It can happen over the most seemingly innocuous thoughts and actions and can be incredibly distressing and sickening if you happen to be at the centre of people’s fury on social media.

Twittersphere can be one mean place if you, in the eyes of some of its users, get things wrong. Being at the centre of a Twitterstorm or a pile on can be a horrible experience lasting over a 24 to 48 hour period.

So here’s what you should do if you ever find yourself in a twitter backlash.

Delete the tweet

Although this might seem like curtailing your speech or what you want to say, removing the “offending” tweet means that it can’t be retweeted or quoted – leading directly to your account.

It’s the quickest way to stop a pile on in its tracks. Yes, some people will have screenshotted the tweet and they will continue to tweet it or may even tweet it at you, but its reach will be far less felt than if you were to leave it on your timeline.

Just turn it off

Turn off Twitter, in fact, delete the app for a few days, so you don’t feel the need to keep on checking what’s going on or what’s been said about you. Ride it out and try not to let your imagination run wild.

A Twitter pile on can last from 24 hours to 48 hours and will then, most likely fade away as people move on. You may get a few tweets after this, but mostly people will have moved on.

Just remember, people’s memories can be short on social media and there’s always someone else to distract and attract a Twitterstorm away from you.

Make a decision on whether to apologise or not

If you come to the conclusion on whether what you’ve tweeted is offensive and Twittersphere has a point, then apologise.

Recently social media star Trisha Paytas found herself in the middle of an epic Twitterstorm after coming out as a “transgender gay man”. The tweet, which actually led people to a YouTube video was immediately met with scorn and derision.

The tweet became quickly ratio’d meaning that the comments outranked the number of Retweets and likes, meaning that in Twitter world you’ve usually done something very very wrong.

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Trisha made an apology video within 48 hours and the pile on continued on with that Tweet, receiving over 700 comments and only 49 retweets, which meant that her apology wasn’t widely shared, so only a fraction of those aware of the story actually heard her apology.

Meanwhile, her original “I Am Transgender” tweet continued to grow and was even picked up by the editorial team at Twitters’ moments, boosting the Tweet even further.

If you do make an apology tweet, post or video- make it heartfelt and true and don’t use phrases like “I’m sorry you were offended”. These often PR managed tweets are met with even more backlash because people don’t and won’t believe it – and can even serve to elongate the storm.

If you don’t feel you need to apologise – don’t. There’s nothing worse than someone apologising for something they’re not sorry for.

Ignore it

You can always ignore it, which is what Cosmopolitan Magazine did after it tweeted about gender critical feminists, called, “What you need to know about TERFS”

The tweet saw thousands of people complaining about the article’s content. The magazine’s official Twitter account – which usually sees an interaction rate of 1 to 2 retweets or likes per post and rarely ever any comments, suddenly had over 7,000 retweets and thousands of comments.

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Dozens of people took to Cosmopolitan‘s timeline to say they had reported the tweet for hate speech, yet the magazine stood resolute, did not delete, did not apologise – basically it didn’t acknowledge the storm that it had created.

Seek legal advice

If you’ve tweeted something you shouldn’t have, like a high court’s super injuction or something that’s libelous or slanderous you might need to seek legal advice.

You may also want to take legal advice or action if people are tweeting something about you that is factually incorrect, libellous or slanderous, as journalist Jack Monroe did against Katy Hopkins. The fallout from which saw the former TV star, journalist and radio presenter left with a huge legal bill after she lost.

About the author: Jake Hook
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.

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