In the simplest terms, a social media takedown is the process of having a user or post that violates Terms of Service removed from a social media platform. Takedowns can be a result of posts containing harassment, fraudulent re-sellers selling counterfeit goods or even users impersonating someone else. Takedowns can also occur off social media; on the open web, the deep/dark web and can sometimes result in full domains being removed.
Takedowns are often used as a Digital Risk Protection measure for companies when they find content online that threatens the reputation of their brand, however, there are many reasons a takedown may occur. This could include illegitimate profiles attaching themselves to the brand and attempting to maliciously influence the reputation of said brand, unauthorized re-sellers selling their products or counterfeit versions of their products, and bad actors targeting the brands customers and employees with spearphishing campaigns.
A general social media takedown timeline would include the following:
- A malicious post is created mentioning your company or brand. Your brand is now tied to the malicious content even though you are not directly involved in the creation of it.
- Your social media manager or your Digital Risk Protection platform alerts you to this content. Now it is time to get the security team involved.
- Here is where remediation actions are required. Are you going to deal with the threat internally or with the help of an expert or Takedown company? Are you going to request the post be deleted by the social media platform in question? That could take a while for the post to be processed and removed. You could block the user that posted the threat, however, that doesn’t stop other users from seeing their post. You could also request that the posters profile be removed entirely from the platform. Once again, this could take a bit of time and resources.
- Once a course of action has been decided, the takedown can be requested through the social media platform in question, or through your social media security tool. If you make use of a Takedown company, you should be able to request takedowns straight from their platform and they will handle all the rest for you.
As you can imagine, manual takedowns would cost a large amount of time and resources, thus the creation of takedown organisations. They will do all the laborious work for you in ensuring your company or brand stays relatively threat-free. Companies like ZeroFox take away all the hassle of having to manually perform takedowns. They can deal with any external threats relating to your brand to keep your company safe and secured for the long run.