How to deal with cyberbullying on social media
On social media, cyberbullies can become a real problem for you, your children, businesses, and anyone else. Online bullies are hijacking pages, writing bad words, and so on. Online bullies exist just like offline bullies on the playground who push other children around. People have the potential to do bad things, online or offline. The good thing is that there are some tools that can help you to deal with online bullying. We’ll teach you how to find an approach to deal with these people.
What to do
Firstly, understand that there are many different reasons why people behave like cyberbullies. The simplest reason is that they have a different opinion of a topic and do not have any personal problems with you or your business. Sometimes, they can be unreasonable and vicious — online bullies do not spare the feelings and are playing unfairly.
Such people could come to your business one day, or maybe they already have. That is not great news, but it could be much worse if your children have trouble with cyberbullies. Adults are generally better positioned to deal with attacks, but children 6–14 years ages do not have the skills or power to resist.
We have collected some simple and useful tips on what to do if you come across cyberbullying on the internet. You can use these tips yourself or teach them to your children. To protect your children even more, use Snoopza. It is an application that tracks your child’s smartphone activity. Thanks to it, you can see who your child is talking to on Facebook!
1. Do not attack in return
It is not easy to deal with bullies online. They may leave very personal and offensive comments. Whatever they are doing, never stoop to their level and attack in return. Doing so will not help you at all but will make you look bad. Moreover, if you attack in return, you are playing the game with their rules. Do not make retaliate, but keep calm.
2. Don’t take negative messages personally
Taking things personally will not help to resolve the situation. Does the person who is writing to you have an opinion that really matters to you? In the most cases, the answer is no. Bullies usually are not people who are close to you, and you do not need to evaluate their words. Their speech is not valuable to you, and their opinion does not matter.
If the comment somehow influences you, it is best to take a break and come back (or do not) with a fresh mind to find a solution to the particular issue.
3. Monitor your profiles on social media
It is very important to check your social media on a regular basis to be aware of the early stages of trouble. You can also check your children’s pages. For example, if you see that they have posted some personal or sensitive information, speak with them and explain why it is better to keep such information private.
If you have a social media page for your business, this constant monitoring has an additional benefit — it will give you the chance to be in contact with your customers and get back to them quickly with the answers to their questions.
4. Create a strategy to manage profiles on social media
This tip is more useful for businesses, not personal pages. You may have an employee who is professionally managing your business profiles on social media. This employee must have the skills to deal with online bullies. In addition, you need to have a plan of action for potential trouble. You can create it yourself — you do not need to have a worker for it.
The main aspects of the response plan must contain the following:
- When to stay silent and when to respond
- Which comments should be removed
- Who is responsible for responding to commented and taking control in the event of a potential crisis
This plan helps stop you from making rash decisions and prepares you for what to do in the event of a crisis.
5. Don’t respond to everyone
You may want to respond to everyone. It is very important to keep communicating and be transparent with everyone. However, in the case of the cyberbully attack or when you are receiving too many messages, understand that you do not have to respond to all of them.
6. Be bransparent
In the case of cyberbully attacks, especially if they are recurring, you need to talk about them with your fans. Be honest and transparent with them. Write posts to acknowledge what is happening, and be prepared to defend yourself from cyberbullies.
First, whenever you are being harassed, make sure that you have a clear concept of your point of view.
Second, moderate comments. If you need to delete some of them from your page, let your fans know that you are doing so and why — that will help you be transparent. Explain the purpose and reasons very clearly.
Transparency is also a very good tool for dealing with irrational, hateful abuse.
Now let’s talk about the types of social media and f the differences between reporting, banning, and hiding.
Facebook features: ban, hide, report, and delete
When you are receiving reasonable complaints from a customer who had used your services, it is never a good idea to delete such comments. However, when people are saying false things, harassing you, or being rude to your or your staff, there is no reason to leave such comments up.
If the bullies simply disagree with your opinion, it is fine to respond to them and leave their comments up. However, if you are receiving the same comments repeatedly or if the bullies are using inappropriate language and becoming rude, there is no reason to keep such comments up.
There are a couple of features on Facebook to deal with unwanted comments.
Hiding a comment is the first option you have to remove negative messages. When you hide comments, they remaining on the page, but only the commenters and their friends can see them.
Hiding is the easiest option, and it is quite effective. The commenter does not realize that his comment has been hidden, and the messages would not have any impact on your other fans.
Right after you hide a comment, you will get the option to delete it, report it, or ban the user. The delete option can be risky because, in this case, the commenter will be notified, and that could prompt them to publish more inappropriate comments.
In addition, when you are deleting a comment, it’s best to include a response explaining why you are doing so: abusive behavior, bad language, and so on. This simple action lets you inform your followers that you are not just ignoring upset customers.
If you post information that you know could cause a lot of questions or troubles, then close the comments from the very beginning. Doing so can cause questions from your audience, but this step will prevent any undesirable activity.
You can report comments that break Facebook’s rules, including spam or bullying comments. The main disadvantage of this option is that could take quite a long time for the comment to be removed.
To report a comment, first learn Facebook’s rules. You have to know what is forbidden, and then report for every single comment that breaks the rules. Most social networks, for example, have forbidden rude words.
If you continuously have trouble with certain users, you may want to ban them. In this case, they can still like your page and share content from your profile, but they would not have the ability to publish any comments on your page or like posts.
Some of the social networks allow even you hide content from the banned user. However, be prepared — the person could make a second account or even a third! Therefore, a ban is not a very useful solution, but it can be a temporary stop the problem.
Ban bad words
It is not equal to the simple ban. Some of the networks have the possibility of banning certain words from your page, so they will never appear there. You may set that through the Facebook page settings. The same tool exists on YouTube as well. Learn if your network has such a feature and use it.
Moreover, you can use this feature to ban using your competitor's brands name! Of course, it is not a cyberbullying, but who said that you can’t use the network’s features to improve your page?
Twitter features: mute, block, report, and protecting your tweets
Twitter is one of the most popular social networks. Even the president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, has a twitter account. You, your children, or your business may have an account as well. Let’s look at Twitter’s features.
If someone you are following spams a lot with tweets or re-tweets, you can mute them. Thanks to this option, you can remove these tweets from your Twitter feed. One click and you will never see tweets from the muted person again.
When you are blocking a user on Twitter, you are automatically unfollowing this person, and he or she cannot send you direct messages anymore, tag you in photos, or view your profile.
Twitter does not inform users that they have been blocked. They still will have the ability to mention you in tweets, but you will not see these mentions. It is a useful tool if you are tired of someone’s activities.
Twitter has the same option as a Facebook to report users who are cyberbullying or harassing you. The result of reporting user’s account could be a warning, or they could be blocked if the user has been threatening you or behaving inappropriately.
Protecting your tweets
This option is best used temporarily if you are using your Twitter account as a marketing tool. This option allows you to moderate people by allowing them to follow you or not. People who are not following you cannot quote your tweets or re-tweet them. In this case, you will secure your account from unwanted comments.
However, for Twitter accounts used as a marketing tool, you may wish to allow potential clients to contact you as easily as possible, and by protecting your tweets, you are removing this opportunity.
For online reviews
There are many places where cyberbullies can attack you — not only social media but also review websites, even if you do not have accounts there. You may be receiving negative reviews from bullies there.
Known review sites as Facebook, Yelp, and Google Local provide you with the option to report reviews as false or respond to negative reviews. Regularly check these sites to see if someone has published fake reviews.
Sure, customers can often recognize a fake review, but it is better to start gathering positive reviews from your clients early on. When you get a negative or false review, it will be drowned out in a sea of good reviews.
Moreover, negative reviews can sometimes work positively for your business because the profiles without negative reviews do not look trustworthy.
What to do about cyberbullies in 2020
If you get in trouble with cyberbullies, keep calm, take a little break, and do not take these messaged too personally. It is very important to have a plan and follow it. Use all the tools that social networks offer wisely. Even if they are slow moving, they still work well.
When you think about answering someone, remember that you need to be as transparent as possible and have a clear concept of your point of view so you can explain it simply to your followers.