are having very real impacts on businesses. 27 First News reporter reporter Amanda Smith explains. Five years ago, an instagram user posted a photo of a dead baby mouse in some fried rice. She claimed it came from a mall food court restaurant. Joe Bell, Cafaro Company: “IT TARGETED THAT PARTICULAR BUSINESS, NAMED IT, AND I’M SURE AS I RECALL THERE WAS A SEVERE DROP IN SALES FOR THAT BUSINESS.” It turned out that same image had been copied all around the country – each time naming a different restaurant. At Suzies and Mission Taco in Boardman – Christian Rinehart has had to fend off attacks by cyber bullies. In one case – one bully had never even BEEN to Boardman- he lived 200 miles away. Christian Rinehart, CEO: “THEY HAD A RUN IN WITH AN EMPLOYEE ON A PERSONAL LEVEL. AND THEY WANTED US TO FIRE HIM. AND THEY KEPT GIVING US ONE STAR REVIEWS EVERY MONTH.” There’s not much businesses can do about that negativity. Christian Rinehart, CEO: “YOU CAN ANSWER IT IN A COMMENT, THAT’S ABOUT IT. AND FINALLY WE HAVE HAD TO BLOCK THAT PERSON. BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS MEANT FOR. IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE OPEN SO YOU CAN HAVE AN OPEN LINE OF COMMUNICATION.” Online rumors can take on a life of their own. In one Cafaro mall- a woman falsely claimed she wasn’t allowed to bring her service dog shopping. Joe Bell, Cafaro Company: “THERE WERE LOTS OF NASTY POSTS SAYING THEY’D NEVER SHOP AT THE MALL AGAIN, AND IT WAS ALL BASED ON A LIE.” And sometimes- putting the rumors out takes lots of work. Joe Bell, Cafaro Company: “IF YOU ISSUE A REBUTTAL, ODDLY ENOUGH PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO BELIEVE IT.” Businesses have to hope their real-world customers outweigh their virtual critics. In Boardman, Amanda Smith 27 first News.