A Cumberland restaurant beset by a recent social media bullying campaign have, in fact, enjoyed a spike in business the last couple of days. But the owners of BiblioTaco harbour some concern about possible long-term damage resulting from a deluge of vulgar comments that appeared on Facebook shortly after an employee was fired.
The BiblioTaco Facebook page was flooded with more than 1,000 negative “reviews,” over the weekend.
One viewer said they found human beef in a taco. Another a toenail.
Comments ranged from profanity-laced insults to outright racist remarks.
When the local community caught wind of the bullying campaign, friends and customers responded with just as many positive comments.
“It’s good,” Thad Castle, a regular patron, said in an interview. “They make real good tacos.”
Co-owners Emilie Thy and Greg MacDonald have been operating BiblioTaco about seven months.
“It’s been great to see all the local support, and all the loving messages, and people coming in to check in on how we’re doing,” Thy said Tuesday. “There’s been an increase in business yesterday…I just want to move along from this incident in the most positive way possible. I do see this will have implications for our business in the long-term, in that we’re going to have a low-star rating.”
Since last week, she said BiblioTaco ratings on Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor reviews have dropped from a perfect five to a 2.5-star rating.
Over the long-term, Thy expects the ratings could negatively affect business from tourists who perform a quick Google search.
Online bullying can be a criminal offence. The parameters that need to be met are specific for it to be investigated, Comox Valley RCMP Const. Rob Gardner said.
Cyberbullying involves the use of communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messaging to repeatedly intimidate or harass others.
“We’re professional adults and we’re dealing with it as a business, but imagine how it would feel to be a teenager being targeted?” Thy said. “It can ruin lives.”
Thy and MacDonald are supporting an anti-bullying campaign by selling hats at the restaurant.
Five dollars from each purchase will go towards the White Hatter — a company that provides Internet and social media safety, digital literacy and workplace violence prevention training to schools, businesses, corporations, law enforcement and government.