Cybersecurity Blog

Harrassed online? Here’s what you do- 07/12/18



If you are on social media, there is a very good chance that at some time you have been attacked by an internet troll.  Usually they can be shut down by simply ignoring them and not responding to their attempts to create conflict.  However, every once in a while the troll continues to harass and they go from being annoying to being abusive.  Thankfully, it is possible to have these people brought up on criminal charges. However, you do need to do some homework. The process is not an easy one. Here are a few tips to get you going:

  1. Get screen shots.
    You never know when a troll is going to cross the line from annoying to abusive, so any harassing posts should be captured in a screen shot. Trolls can delete posts and cancel accounts when they are being investigated. You cannot rely on them being archived. A screen shot preserves the evidence for future prosecution.
  2. Print out your screen shots.
    Technology fails, always have a paper backup.
  3. Record dates and times of harassing.
    You need to create a chronological record of the harassment. If authorities see it escalating over time, they will be more likely to intervene.
  4. Know the terms and conditions as well as the rights and responsibilities of the social media site you are using.
    Be aware of what can and can’t be reported.
  5. Report the bullying to your internet and mobile service providers as well as the social media site.
    Give them your screen shots and record of harassment.
  6. Block the troll from your account.
    Most social media sites allow you to block messages or posts from specific individuals. If the troll creates another account and continues to harass, this further supports your case.
  7. Report the harassment to the police.
    If you continue to be harassed even after you have not responded to their taunts and have blocked them from accounts, you have grounds to report the harassment to the police.

To get help with the documenting process and gain support, visit HeartMob a non profit organization dedicated to ending online harassment.  Their website is full of resources including a twitter bot that replies to harassers with a disincentive.




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