How to Report Bullying or Abuse on Social Media
Social Media businesses are governed by the laws of the country in which they are head-quartered, but they are also expected to comply with local laws where they operate. Most Social Media sites have a reporting system in place aimed at flagging inappropriate content, however, they do come under a lot of criticism for not taking online safety seriously enough.
They do not tolerate bullying or abuse and say that once they are aware of it, they will remove bullying content and may disable the account of anyone who is bullying another. They adhere to a set of Community Standards (https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/) which include that Facebook will not tolerate:
- Pages that identify and shame private individuals
- Images that have been altered to degrade private individuals
- Photos or videos of physical bullying posted to shame the victim
- Sharing personal information to blackmail or harass people
- Repeatedly targeting other people with unwanted friend requests or messages
Using the Report Links which appear on the page, you can report bullying to Facebook. A ‘drop down arrow’ should appear giving you a menu option to report the image, post or comment.
You can unfriend or block a person from Facebook. Click on their profile, on the message dropdown you will see the option to ‘unfriend’ and/or ‘block’.
If a person sends you a tweet or replies to a tweet with a comment that you don’t like, you can unfollow that person. To stop them from further contacting you, you can block them. If you receive unwanted replies or abuse or threats from someone on Twitter, you can report them direct to Twitter https://support.twitter.com/forms/abusiveuser
You can protect your tweets so that people can only follow you if you approve them first. Do this by going into the ‘settings’ menu, then ‘security and privacy’ and ticking the ‘protect my tweets’ box.
To remove or block someone on Twitter, click on the button with a head icon on it next to the ‘Follow’ button on a user’s profile. When you click on this you will see a menu with the options to ‘block’ the user to prevent them from seeing your profile and you can also ‘report for spam’, which will alert Twitter to any users who are abusing the service.
YouTube state that videos with hate content, graphic violence or nudity cannot be uploaded so if you see one, report it as inappropriate.
To remove someone from your YouTube page, go to your account page and click on ‘all contacts’ in the ‘Friends and Contacts’ section. Choose which person you wish to unfriend and click on the ‘remove contact’. Once you have done this, the person will no longer be on your ‘share video’ list.
If you receive abusive, bullying or threatening comments on YouTube, you can report them and they will investigate https://www.youtube.com/reportabuse
Bullying or abuse on Instagram can take place in a number of ways:
- Negative Comments
- Fake Profiles
- Hacking Accounts
Instagram’s advice is to block and unfollow the person who is being abusive. If it continues, you can report it here https://help.instagram.com/165828726894770
To block someone on Instagram, tap their username to open their profile, tap the three dots and press the option to ‘block user’.
Bullying through Snapchat takes place in a number of different ways, including:
- Taking Screenshots of images without permission
- Sending pictures without permission
- Negative comments
If this happens to you, you can block a ‘friend’.
- Tap the Menu icon
- Select ‘My Friends’
- Locate their name in the list and swipe right across their name
- To delete them, press Delete
To block someone who added you on Snapchat:
- Tap ‘added me’ on the Profile Screen
- Tap their name and tap the ‘Wheel Icon’ next to their name
- Press ‘block’
This will prevent them from sending you Snaps or Chats or from viewing your content.
If a person is bullying or harassing you or you receive an inappropriate image, report it by completing their online form https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/i-need-help
Legally, you have to be over 16 to use WhatsApp. As this is a messaging service, bullying can happen in many ways via WhatsApp. Once you install the App, it checks your address book and connects you automatically to anyone else you know who is using the App. You can block and delete a contact who may be bullying you through WhatsApp:
- Click on their name
- Using the dropdown menu, choose to ‘block’ the person.
You can find out more by emailing WhatsApp at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some Safety Information
- Keep it Private – don’t post anything on a social networking site that identifies your real name, address, phone number, school etc. as this will enable a stranger to contact you in real life. Be careful you don’t identify your friends too.
Click here to watch our ‘Staying Safe Online’ video
- Never upload anything that might embarrass you at a later date. Things you post on the Internet stay there and can come back and cause problems for you later on, for instance, when you go for an interview for college or university or apply for a job. If you’re happy for the world to see the photo or comment, hit send. If you’re not, don’t upload it!!! Once you’ve hit send, you have lost control of that image or comment forever.
- With today’s technology, many of us have a camera available at all times. Never feel pressurised into taking pictures of yourself that you wouldn’t want others to see. Always trust your gut instinct over this. As before, once you hit send, you have lost control over that image and this can cause immense anxiety and stress.
- If you ever use a shared computer, whether it be at home, at school, a library or Internet café, never forget to log off once you have finished your session or when you close the browser. If you don’t, the next user may be able to access the sites you have been using under your name.
- Many sites enable you to ‘check in’ or post your location each time you post a status update. Whilst this can let your friends know where you are, places you’re visiting and things you might be doing, it can also mean that people you don’t know can also view this information – especially if your profile is public. Go into the ‘Settings’ menu of the social networking site or app, scroll to the ‘Security and Privacy’ section and turn off or uncheck the ‘location’ box.
Keep yourself safe
- If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or afraid online, you need to tell someone immediately. If someone suggests meeting up with you in real life, again, tell someone immediately. This is a huge concern, especially if they have suggested you keep it a secret. No matter how much a person tells you about themselves, if you don’t know them really well in the ‘real world, they are still a stranger and may not be telling you the truth.
Click here to watch our ‘Protect yourself Online’ video
- There have been a number of cases of adults pretending to be young people online and trying to engage other young people in inappropriate activities. This is called ‘Grooming’ and is a criminal offence. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) investigate cases of grooming on the Internet and sex abuse and incidents can be reported by clicking the red button on the top right hand corner of their website https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
- Don’t get into an argument or post offensive, bullying or abusive material online. Never post anything which promotes physical harm or make threats to anyone. Don’t spread rumours or make up false information about a person and don’t encourage others to harass someone. It is defamatory if you say untrue things about a person which can give them a bad reputation and it can also be seen as harassment – which is a criminal offence in the UK.
- You are not allowed to upload a picture or video of anyone without their permission. Never set up a social networking site in someone else’s name or upload false information about them.
Of course, all sites have a responsibility to keep their users safe and to ensure that all reports of cyber-bullying and abuse are dealt with effectively, however, we, as users of such sites, also have a responsibility to make sure we are using them in a safe, respectful and appropriate manner.