How to Report Social Media Harassment
Social media platforms have become an integral part of our daily lives, enabling us to connect with friends, family, and communities worldwide. However, the openness of these platforms also exposes users to the risk of encountering social media harassment, cyberbullying, and behavioral abuse. If you find yourself being defamed online or facing harassment on social media, it’s crucial to know how to report such incidents effectively. Here’s how to report cyberbullying on popular social media platforms.
1. Document the Evidence
Before taking any action against social media harassment, ensure you have documented the harassment. Take screenshots or save copies of the offensive posts, messages, or comments. Keeping a record of the incidents will strengthen your case when reporting the harassment to the platform administrators.
2. Familiarize Yourself with Platform Policies
Each social media platform has its own set of community guidelines and terms of service that users must abide by. Familiarize yourself with these policies to understand what type of content is considered harassment and how it should be reported. Knowing the rules will help you provide accurate information when filing a complaint.
3. Utilize In-App Reporting Features
Most social media platforms offer in-app reporting features that allow users to report harassment directly. These features are designed to streamline the process and can usually be found within the post, comment, or user profile settings. Report the offending content through the appropriate channels, and include any relevant evidence you have collected.
Here’s how to report online harassment on popular social media platforms:
How to Report Harassment on Facebook
- Go to the post, comment, or message that contains the harassing content on Facebook.
- Look for the three dots (ellipsis) in the top right corner of the post or comment.
- Select “Find Support or Report Post/Comment,” click on the three dots, and choose the “Find Support or Report Post” option from the dropdown menu.
- Choose “Harassment” as the category.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to provide additional information about the harassment, such as who it’s directed at and any relevant details.
- After filling out the necessary information, click on the appropriate button to submit the report.
- If you wish to prevent further interactions with the person responsible for the harassment, consider blocking them. Visit their profile, click on the three dots (options), and select “Block” from the dropdown menu.
How to Report Harassment on Instagram
- Navigate to the post, comment, or direct message that contains the harassing content on Instagram.
- Tap on the three dots (ellipsis) located in the top right corner of the post or comment. For direct messages, tap and hold the message to reveal the options.
- Select the “Report” option from the menu that appears after tapping the three dots.
- Instagram will prompt you to choose the reason for your report. Tap on “It’s Inappropriate” to proceed.
- Depending on the nature of the harassment, Instagram may provide further options. For harassment, tap on “Bullying or Harassment.”
- If you wish, you can provide more context to support your report. This step is optional but may be helpful in some cases.
- After selecting the reason and providing additional details (if desired), tap on “Report” to submit your report.
- Block the User (Optional): To prevent further interactions with the person responsible for the harassment, consider blocking them. You can do this by visiting their profile, tapping the three dots (options), and selecting “Block” from the menu.
How to Report Harassment on Google Business Profile
As of September 2021, Google My Business (GMB) doesn’t have a specific option to report harassment directly on a business profile.
However, you can report inappropriate content or policy violations related to the business. Here’s a general step-by-step guide on how to report such issues:
- Open Google Maps or Search
- Go to the Google Maps app or open your web browser and search for the business on Google.
- Find the Business Profile
- Locate the business profile you want to report by searching for its name or address.
- Scroll Down to “Suggest an Edit” or “Flag as Inappropriate”
- Scroll down the business profile page until you see the section where users can suggest edits or flag content as inappropriate.
- Select “Suggest an Edit” or “Flag as Inappropriate”
- Click on the appropriate option based on the content you want to report. If you’re reporting harassment, choose “Flag as Inappropriate.”
- Choose the Reason for Flagging
- Google will provide you with a list of reasons for flagging the content. Since you’re reporting harassment, select the option that best fits the situation, such as “Offensive or Inappropriate.”
- Add Additional Details (Optional)
- If you wish to provide more context to support your report, you may have the option to add additional details or comments. This step is optional but may be helpful in some cases.
- Submit the Report:
- After selecting the reason and providing any additional information, submit the report to Google for review.
4. Block and Report the Offender
If you are being harassed by a specific user, consider blocking them to prevent further interactions. Blocking can also prevent them from viewing your content. After blocking, proceed to report the user to the platform administrators, providing details of the harassment you’ve experienced.
5. Report to Law Enforcement (If Necessary)
In severe cases where you feel physically threatened or believe a crime has been committed, it may be necessary to involve law enforcement. Save all evidence and contact your local authorities to file a report. They can guide you on further steps to take to ensure your safety and well-being.
If law enforcement can’t help, there are several other legal options that you might have, including potentially filing for a civil restraining order against your harasser. If you are being harassed, and these reporting methods are not effective, you should consult with an attorney to go over these options.
6. Seek Support
Experiencing online harassment can be emotionally distressing. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups to share your experiences and seek guidance. You are not alone, and there are organizations and resources available to assist those dealing with cyberbullying and harassment.
If the harassment you’ve experienced has impacted your mental health, online reputation, or business, consider contacting an experienced defamation attorney. Buckingham’s online defamation team, including Andrew Stebbins and Christina Williams, offer a collaborative, thoughtful approach to your legal needs.
7. Privacy and Account Settings
Review your privacy and account settings on social media platforms regularly. Limit the visibility of your posts to friends only or trusted contacts. Be cautious about sharing personal information that could be used by harassers to target you.
8. Report Multiple Incidents
If the harassment persists despite your initial report, do not hesitate to report new instances. Social media platforms take user safety seriously and may take additional actions against repeat offenders. Remember, reporting harassment is a vital step in maintaining a safe and respectful online environment. By promptly addressing such behavior, you not only protect yourself but also contribute to creating a safer space for all users on social media platforms.