The Internet can be a double-edged sword for businesses. It’s a fantastic resource for companies to connect with customers. But, it’s also easy for bad or untrue information to spread through illegal reviews.

This is potentially dangerous: more than 90 percent of those aged 18 to 34 trust Internet review sites as much as personal recommendations. Negative reviews that turn into PR nightmares can quickly spread.

Companies must be aware of how online reviews can impact their reputations. They also must learn what they can do about these reviews. In some cases, responding can help sooth the situation. You should have a plan for how to respond to negative reviews to ensure you’re ready to tackle valid concerns from customers.

It’s also critical to understand whether or not removing online reviews may be possible. In most cases, there’s little one can do unless the review violates the site’s terms of service in some way. Furthermore, if you experience a surge of negative online reviews, legal action probably won’t save you. Most of those comments are protected by the First Amendment.

Even if you feel helpless against the wrath of disgruntled customers and their keyboards, you do have some options. Learn how to identify fake posts and accounts. This will help you make your case to the site that hosts them, then potentially have them removed. There also are numerous strategies you can use to turn these negatives into positives for your company.

The accompanying guide created by Elliot Legal Group contains a wealth of advice to help you spot illegal reviews, then know how to handle them once you do.