Abused, Bullied & Harassed On Facebook: 6 Ways To Get Back Your Dignity [Weekly Facebook Tips]

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Facebook isn’t a safe haven. A recent study by GMI revealed that one in ten Facebook users have experienced some form of abuse. Among 18 – 24 year olds, one in four were affected. Offenders use their victims’ walls or private messages to post insults, threats, or other abusive messages.

In the real world it can be tough to avoid bullies or even prove what they have done. In Facebook, however, you have effective tools to deal with people who deliberately abuse you. And the good news is that all of your options are straight forward and simple.

Calmly Address The Offender

If you belong to the majority of victims that know their offender in real life (62%), you should probably respond to them. This obviously depends on the individual case, but sending a clear and mature message can do wonders or at least gain you a lot of respect.

When you speak with the offender, try to be friendly or professional. Fighting back with insults and threats will only bring you down to their low level. Instead, be mature and calmly ask the bully to stop. Only 14% of study participants had the guts to do that. Are you courageous enough to be one of them?

Report The Offense To Facebook

You can report offending wall posts to Facebook via the little ribbon menu in the top right of the respective post. Click the arrow head and select Report Story or Spam from the menu.

Next you will see a confirmation that the story was marked as spam. Click the file a report link and go through the following query to get Facebook’s attention.

If you received chat or private messages, you can essentially do the same. Go to the respective message and select Report Spam or Abuse… from the Actions menu.

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In the following window, you can make one of three selections: mark the conversation as spam, report messages from a hacked friend, or report the sender as harassing or threatening you.

Unfriend The Offender

There is no good reason to remain friends with someone who is being mean to you.

Once you have marked a wall post from a friend as spam, Facebook will show you an unfriend button. Click it to remove that person from your friends list.

In private messages and anywhere else you can hover over the offender’s name and wait until a preview of their profile pops up. Hover over Friends until a menu opens, then select Unfriend from the bottom of the list.

Block The Offender

Unfriending might not be enough, especially if you don’t want to completely lock up your profile. Fortunately, you can selectively block individual Facebook users.

Go to Privacy Settings and switch to Blocking in the left-hand-menu. Under Block users, enter the name or email address of the offender and click Block.

Adjust Your Facebook Privacy Settings

Now that you have dealt with the bully, it’s time to look at your Facebook settings. If you fall into the group of people whose culprit wasn’t even on their Facebook friends list (27% in the GMI study), you should check the doors. Are they wide open for more people to find and harrass you on Facebook?

Here is what you can do:

  • allow only friends to find your profile
  • let only friends see your personal information on Facebook
  • organize your friends in lists and share updates selectively
  • accept Facebook messages from friends only
  • lock your wall or let only friends post on it

I have summarized all of the above and more in this article on Critical Facebook Privacy Tips. Facebook has since released a new Privacy Menu and you can find a complete guide to the new Facebook privacy settings here.

Leave Facebook – Close Your Account – Open a New Account

This is a last resort. However, if you seriously want to close your Facebook account due to negative experiences, find detailed instructions on how to permanently delete your Facebook account here. However, don’t let a mean person sever your ties to family and friends on Facebook. You can always open a new account and start fresh.

Conclusion

Ralph Risk, GMI Marketing Director Europe, says:

In the virtual world of social media people may feel it is easy and anonymous to send insulting or abusive messages to other users. Our research shows that most people on Facebook are currently able to tackle the problem themselves using the technology provided. The strength of social media has always been the opportunity to easily connect and interact with friends and groups, but to ensure its continued flexibility is not restricted by legislation, it is important that the ability to limit exposure to insulting and abusive messages is simple for users to control themselves.

Have you been bullied on Facebook and how did you or would you react?

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Comments (25)
  • Russ

    “Unfriend the offender”
    Well thanks for that absolute GEM of help there.

    What actually needs to happen is for Facebook to take responsibility for the harrassment, death threats, and other vile behaviour that happen through its media and provide proper contacts, and a quick way to take down offending posts and shares.
    But that might cut into their billions of profit, eh!

    • Jane Nicholson

      This is the treatment I am receiving from fb right now. They do not act to uphold their own Community Standards including Hate Speech ” Organizations and people dedicated to promoting hatred against people; based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious afiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or seriois disabilities and diseases; are not allowed on Face Book. There are individual and group Pages in Australia and at least one that I know of in UK which openly promote hatred based on religious affiliation.

  • Lisa

    This is BS!! Facebook will do nothing. They should have rules for this and actually do something to the person doing the harassing. People are making fake fb accounts and using them to harass people and fb does NOTHING…NOTTA……

  • Karen L. Grube

    Someone created a “page” using my name and my profile photograph and began posting offensive remarks on other pages and in other groups where I commonly post. Because it is a “page” and not a fake account, I can’t report it as imitating me. There is no option in the Report drop-down for that. I have reported it as abuse at least half a dozen times now, and the page is still up, so this person could imitate me all over Facebook if they wanted. I did report the use of my photo as a copyright violation, so I think the photo is gone now. Still, I have been over and over the reporting options, and there just isn’t a way to say “This page is imitating me and posting with my name.” I’m wondering if you have any better suggestions as to how to get them to remove this stupid offensive page..

    • Tina Sieber

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any other ideas, Karen. Keep reporting the page through all the channels you can get a hold of and someone may eventually take notice. Until they introduce a better system, that’s all you can hope for.

  • John

    These tips are mere common sense, which sadly a lot of people these days lack in abundance.

    Dysfunctional people tend to attract other dysfunctional people and being that they are all dysfunctional no amount of common sense tips are going to help them. Especially when they rate their self value on how many Facebook friends they have.

    They don’t need tips, they need counseling.

    • Tina Sieber

      Or they are just kids who don’t know better because no one taught them. They are not dysfunctional or incapable, they are just naive and maybe insecure. Their way to get help might be to search Google. In that case they will hopefully find this article. :)

  • Kamruzzaman Chowdhury

    Very informative and helpful piece of writing. Thanks Tina for sharing with us such a beautiful post.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.