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Social media websites, such as Facebook or Twitter are great ways of staying in touch with people and what is going on in the world. It is however, also an arena which is open to misuse. Increasingly, perpetrators of abuse are using online social networks to further abuse their victims.
All social network websites have rules about how they expect their users to abide by. These rules include not abusing other users of the website and if this happens there are actions that they can take to stop it.
There are also ways that you can protect yourself when using websites like Facebook and Twitter. We would always recommend that you have your privacy settings as secure as possible. Be aware that website should as these also have location settings inbuilt in them. These can be used by people, including abusers, to see where you are or places you have been.
Many of us seem to use Facebook as a way of keeping in touch with friends/family and sharing photos or videos. It is becoming more and more common that abusers are using Facebook as a tool for harassing and stalking victims.
It is possible to protect yourself while continuing to use Facebook, and we would always recommend that you have your privacy settings set at the highest level and only add people as Facebook friends that you actually know and trust.
Here are some ways that you can make Facebook a safer and happier place for you to use:
Privacy settings – always ensure that your profile is set as a private profile. If your profile is ‘public’ it means that there are no restrictions as to who can see any of the information on your profile or that you share or that you are tagged in.
For more information about your privacy settings and who can see your information on Facebook – click here: https://www.facebook.com/about/basics
Facebook ‘friends’ or not – If you receive a ‘friend request’ from someone, only accept that request if you are certain it is from someone you know and are happy to share your personal information with. Facebook is also very good at suggesting friends, or people you may know. Unless you know these people, do not add them as a friend. If you are unsure about adding someone as a friend on Facebook, the golden rule is don’t add them.
Abusers will think nothing of creating fake profiles to try and access your Facebook profile and/or make contact with you.
Location settings – We would advise that you turn off the location settings within Facebook and on your mobile phone. Be aware that if location settings are enabled, other users will be able to see where you are when you post things, or are ‘tagged’ into places on Facebook. Ask friends and family not to tag you in to places to avoid abusers being able to see where you are or where you have been.
Unwanted contact/blocking someone – If someone is sending you messages or posting on your wall that you don’t want, it can be reported to Facebook. You can unfriend or block that person.
If someone is pretending to be you, or someone else, by setting up a fake profile, this can also be reported to Facebook.
If you are reporting online abuse to the police, it is helpful to keep a copy of their Facebook URL and email address, or take a screenshot of the contact, or their profile.
For more information about how to deal with unwanted contact on Facebook, use this link: https://www.facebook.com/help/181495968648557/
Other helpful information about Facebook can be obtained here: https://www.facebook.com/safety/tools
Many of us use Twitter as a way of finding information and interacting with friends, or sharing photos. In the same way as Facebook, it is possible set the privacy settings to protect your tweets or disable your location.
Privacy settings – if you don’t want everyone to see your tweets, you can protect your account. This means that only people you ‘approve’ can follow you, see your tweets or send you messages.
Location settings – Again, it is possible to stop your tweet from showing your location. In the ‘compose tweet’ box, there is a dropdown box on the menu; select ‘turn off location’. Once this has been done, the setting will be saved for future tweets.
Blocking or reporting someone – if someone is sending you unwanted messages, or harassing you via twitter it is possible to block them so that they can’t contact you or see your tweets. It can be done via a tweet that person has done or by clicking onto their profile.
It is possible to report a user to Twitter if they are harassing you or sharing information/photos of you without your permission.
Use the Twitter Help Centre to help you set up your account as securely as possible.
To contact us, please call or email us:
24 hour helpline: 0113 246 0401
Referrals: 0113 246 0401
Client Line: 0113 243 2632
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Registered charity number: 1087583
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