Social Networking Harassment

It may not have happened to you, but it can, social networking harassment. One day you are busily writing emails to people in your network and then suddenly without warning someone sends you a hateful email about something you may have posted in a forum, on a bulletin, or passed around in a note. You acknowledge their concern in a way they aren’t too happy about. They respond with a few expletives and insults trying to make you just as angry if not more than they are. You dismiss their email as childish and send another. This keeps going on until you put an end to it on your end, but this person wants to keep going. They blast your friend list with insults about you, they accuse you of being something you are not, and they may even create a group against you. This type of behavior is social networking harassment. So how do you know what signs to look out for and what can you do if this person wants to keep going on and on with their tirade?


If you are sending and receiving negative email on a consistent basis from someone then that is considered harassment. If you are the sender, you may want to stop while you are ahead. If the person you are sending the email to does something to themselves or to someone else as a result of the email you are sending them, you may be at fault.

If you (or the person who is harassing you) is attempting to rally up support to hurt this person maliciously by creating a group or doing other things such as blatantly lying or name calling, you could be sued for defamation of character.

There are some people who will send false complaints to tech support about the individual or group as a way to get their account suspended. This could backfire if you are the guilty party. However, if the concerns are legitimate they will be investigated and the person could be removed from the system.

Past images of nudity, lewd behavior, and other things you may have done can come back to haunt you. Most social networking sites will not allow graphic photos so you can contact the tech support asking that the photo be removed. However, if it isn’t bad enough to break the social networking site’s rules, then you will have to ask the person who posted it to remove it or get legal representation to help.

There isn’t much you can do if a person purposely embarrasses or belittles you like calling you out on a message board or puts your name in capitals on their profile page, but if what they are saying is bad enough to break the policies of the social networking site then you can ask tech support to get involved.

Some social networking sites can’t keep all hackers out of your account, so with that said, you will need to avoid putting anything on your site that could potentially hurt you in the long term.

Also, keep in mind that if anyone should threaten to do bodily harm to you or those that you know or if you should threaten him or her, the police will treat a threat the same way as if you said it to a person’s face. Contact the authorities in your harasser’s hometown and make copies of what they posted on their site and the emails that they sent you.

By Nicholl McGuire

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