151How to Measure Damage to Your Internet Reputation
from social contact entirely. But, luckily, not all incorrect Internet
content is damaging. Some attacks are never seen by their intended
targets; virtual tumbleweed rolls across the attack sites as they sit
abandoned. And some false content may be found but ignored—if it
is obviously false, appears untrustworthy, or looks like it refers to
The following sections walk you through the process that pro-
fessionals use to measure the impact of false online content on your
reputation. Note that the source of the false content (whether the
content was created intentionally or by mistake) does not matter very
much at this stage. To a victim of false online content, it may not
matter whether the content was innocent, accidental, or intentional.
Types of Harm Caused by Online Content
The first step to measuring the harm caused by Internet content is to
determine what types of injuries are being inflicted by the content.
Some types of false Internet content harm personal, social, and pro-
fessional relationships. Some cause social and professional embar-
rassment. Still other types harm business interests. And yet other
types harm privacy interests or damage users’ right to quiet enjoy-
ment or exploration of the Internet, perhaps causing them to retreat
from social interaction and exploration.
Direct Harms to Reputation
This section discusses some of the most common ways that this type
of content can impact your reputation. Think about the ways that a
piece of false or malicious online content could impact your reputa-
tion; the more categories of damage that it triggers, the worse it is.
The most common harm caused by false or misleading online con-
tent is harm to your reputation among friends, colleagues, and oth-
ers. There are always at least two impacts of this type of content.