Being harassed online?

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Is someone using the web to harass you or to spread nasty rumours about you?

If someone is checking your email without your permission, sending you unwanted messages via chat/Facebook/mySpace/games/chat, posting embarrassing or dirty pictures of you online or spreading rumours about you, you can deal with this online disrespect.

A computer with the message "I hate you" on the screen

What to do when…

…Someone logs in and checks your email

  • If it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend, tell them clearly that it’s your private account and not to do it. Doing that kinda stuff is not respect! See Is it ok to snoop?
  • If it’s someone you don’t know, delete your email account immediately and set up a new one.

…Someone sends you unwanted messages via email, Facebook, mySpace, BeBo, a dating site or chat.

1. Tell them to stop. Then if you can, block and report it.

  • Tell the person that you do not want them to contact you.
  • You don’t have to say why and you only have to do it once.
  • Ignore any more messages you get from them, but don’t delete them.

2. Save everything

  • Save everything: one of the first impulses of many people is to just delete any creepy or harassing messages, but that’s a bad idea.
  • Save every bit – email, chat logs, Facebook messages, twitter DMs, anything.
  • If it’s happening on mySpace, take screenshots of comments, messages or photos by pressing “Print Screen” on your keyboard; then on your computer open the “Paint” program: All Programs > Accessories > Paint. Then do Edit > Paste to paste in the screenshot and then save it.

3. Report it

  • If it’s Facebook, mySpace or Bebo, block them and report it (see below).
  • If it’s a dating site, an online game or any other website, contact the site and report it.
  • If someone keeps contacting you and it’s making you scared and upset, it sounds like you’re being  stalked. Stalking is illegal. The person could get dangerous. You should contact the police and get their advice. Save any messages or emails to show the police if necessary. For more information see Staying safe online

…Someone spreads rumours or posts embarrassing or dirty pictures of you online

 

  • Report it: If it’s a dirty picture or a nasty name or rumour, report it to Facebook, mySpace or Bebo and they should remove it.
  • Remove it: If it’s a picture that you don’t like but isn’t dirty, go to the photo and click the “Remove Tag” link next to your name (on Facebook). It will no longer be linked to your profile.
  • Tell them: If you don’t want the photo to be shown at all, you could talk to the person who posted it. They should be respectful enough to remove unwanted photos.
  • Remove them as a friend: You can only be tagged in photos by your friends, so if someone keeps tagging you in embarrassing photos, remove them as a friend.

Facebook

Email abuse@facebook.com and Facebook Safety tips at http://www.facebook.com/safety/

There are a few things you can do:
  1. Report: You can anonymously report messages to Facebook. Click on the “Report Message” link under the the name and picture of the sender when viewing a message. Facebook will review your complaint and will act to ensure all users comply with their Terms of Use.
  2. Block: You can easily block any user on Facebook from seeing or contacting you by entering their name in the ‘Block People’ section on the Privacy page.
  3. Limit who can find you: You can limit the people who can find you in searches, which in turn limits who can message you. You can also prevent people from messaging you from your search listing. Both options are available on the Search Privacy page.

I’m receiving unwanted Wall postings. What should I do?

There are a couple of options available:
  1. Remove postings: You can remove any offensive Wall postings by clicking on the “Delete” link that appears on each posting.
  2. Remove as a friend: If you would like to prevent the individual from leaving any more unwanted postings, just remove the person as a friend from the Friends page. Only your friends can post on your Wall.

You can anonymously report offensive profile pictures and content by:
  • clicking on the “Report this Person” link located at the bottom of the profile page.
  • clicking on the “Report Group” link located under the group’s picture.
  • clicking on the “Report” link located under the saved material.

You will be asked to specify the offensive content. Facebook will review your complaint and will act to ensure all users comply with their Terms of Use.

What do I do if someone has posted a photo of me that I don’t like?

Facebook will only remove photos that violate our Terms of Use (e.g., pornography or copyrighted images). However, there are some things you can do if you don’t like a photo of you on the site:

  1. To remove your name from a particular photo, simply view the photo and click the “Remove Tag” link next to your name. It will no longer be linked to your profile.
  2. Remember that you can only be tagged in photos by your friends. If you are having problems with someone constantly tagging you in embarrassing photos, just remove them as a friend from the Friends page.
  3. If you don’t want the photo to be shown at all, please talk to the person who posted it. They should be respectful enough to remove unwanted photos. Unfortunately, Facebook cannot make users remove photos that do not violate our Terms of Use.

mySpace

mySpace Safety Australia has information on how to change the privacy settings, pre-approve comments, block another user, turn off the “online now” status icon

mySpace deletes

  • violence
  • full nudity
  • hate-based or gang-related language and/or images
  • obscenity

If you stumble across something that shouldn’t be there, here’s what you do:

1. Click on Safety Tips and then ‘Report Abuse’

2. Attach a screen shot if possible

3. Include the MySpace friend ID or vanity profile where you found it (that’s the http:// address that appears in the browser bar, which looks like http://profile.myspace.com/index…&friendid=0000000 or http://MySpace.com/VanityProfile)

mySpace tries to get back to you within 48 hours.

Related links

Photo above from Flickr by 27340884@N07 / CC BY-NC 2.0

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