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Social media is a lot like life. It has it's highs and it has it's lows. It isn't perfect.
You decide who you want to interact with in the offline world, so do the same with social media. If a stranger came up to you on the street and hollered abuse at you, what would you do? Feel a little shook up, walk away, tell a friend and avoid them for the rest of your life, probably. This is good advice for the online world, too. Nobody, unless they have anything nice to say, is worth your energy.
Delete, block, mute and report people on social media that are not saying positive things to you or about you. Trolls may creep in time and time again and if and when it happens, ignore them. Writing a response on a piece of paper can be a cathartic exercise but don't post it. Just throw it away. You do not have the energy or the time for anybody unless they make you feel good. It is good to be armed with this information, before it happens but we know that a lot of advice is all good and well in preparation but when you are have already experienced online trolling firsthand and are maybe going through it right now, it is very difficult to adopt this attitude.
To aid public figures with online trolling, the Center for Countering Digital Hate has published a 'Don't feed the trolls' guide. This comes from the postings found on the neo-nazi website: The Daily Stormer. Their Playbook encourages troll networks and gives tips about how online trolls can gain infamy by targeting public figures. So, once they see that the target has gone to the media, with their online trolling issue, the trolls have succeeded in their mission.
How it works is that these propagandists, within their small cluster networks, coordinate plans to isolate and perform mass attacks of hatefilled, slurring comments on public figures. They will create a hateful hashtag to go alongside the attack. When the public figure goes to the media with their trolling story, the hateful hashtag is picked up by the media and spread and thus, the trolling amplification and a stunt success result is achieved by the trolling networks, which had no influence on the broader public beforehand. They would simply not succeed without the assistance of the media.
Public figures are being encouraged to not post that they are being targeted, not go to the media and to carry on, business as usual. This is great and powerful, moving forward. By starving the propogandist trolls of their 'mass-assault', they don't win.
What if the online trolling abuse has already happened and you are in the midst of it and you are feeling low, depressed and full of anxiety and don't know where to turn?
Firstly, take a big, deep breath.
It is not your fault.
Try not to take it personally. Whoever posted the abuse, do not know you.
Online trolls cannot physically hurt you.
Don't respond. Trolls crave responses. Don't give them that pleasure. Starve them.
Don't delete evidence. Screenshot everything.
Report to the platform.
Report to the police. If they say it isn't anything they can help with, tell them that it is a criminal offence: harassment.
Take a break from social media, if you can.
Tell your family and friends.
Talk to us at Cohen Davis. We can help remove the abusive webpages with the comments on and any images or videos; anything that is defamatory. We assist people that have become targets of online trolling on a daily basis. If you rely on social media for your business, we can protect your identity and bring the perpetrators to justice, in a private hearing, allowing you to continue without the maelstrom of the media.
Online abuse is the same as offline abuse and if you need legal help, Cohen Davis are here: 0800 612 7211.