The reality of reality TV programmes
Chris Emmins, founder of KwikChex, a company that assists businesses in managing their reputation, gives the following advice to those tempted to participate in reality TV programmes, such as Four in a Bed to avoid the abuse received by some previous participants, as reported on TravelMole today.
If you decide to appear on one of the growing number of reality TV shows, the potential benefits are matched by the potential hazards. We would advise people to seriously consider the risks - the possible invasions of privacy - and, as this latest case shows, how it can open the gates to extreme and distressing abuse.
We would advise the following:
- Carefully consider the nature of the programme - does it (or the producers of the programme) have a track record of presenting participants badly or showing conflict between participants?
- It would be wise to expect some invasion of privacy and the potential for some viewers to react (no matter how unjustly) - by using powerful internet resources to attack participants. The perpetrators could be disgruntled ex-employees, competitors - or just people that take a dislike to a person (a considerable amount of attacks are not rational behaviour).
- If a person or business is attacked after appearing, keep as much evidence as possible, including recording phone calls when achievable.
- Contact expert resources such as KwikChex, who will provide initial free advice on possible actions, from civil to criminal law, including removal of malicious content, the applicable laws and contact where appropriate with the police (who are sometimes initially reluctant to take cases on, not realising the extent of the damage and distress that can be caused).
Bear in mind there is a particularly high risk appearing in programmes such as Four in a Bed
- Viewers have the names and locations of the participants and can then easily find the addresses, phone numbers and email addresses - and in many cases, (as with B&Bs), the business will also be their home.
- Perpetrators will know that serious damage can easily be caused for such businesses by placing fake reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, which is very influential - and placing a credible fake review will be much easier because they will have seen so much detail on the programme. For example, they will know the names of the owners and be able to accurately describe the facilities and the character.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013