In response to the Charlotte Dawson Twitter affair, the ACMA released a guide to protect yourself against trolls on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The five steps to protect yourself and friends are:
- IGNORE the troll—don’t respond to nasty, immature, offensive comments. Giving trolls the attention they want only gives them more power.
- BLOCK the troll—take away their power by blocking them. If they pop up under a different name, block them again.
- REPORT trolls—report to site administrators. If they pop up under a different name, report them again. If they continue, contact the police.
- TALK with friends and family—If a troll upsets you, talk about it … it’s not you, it’s them. Visit the Cybersmart Online Helpline or call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
- PROTECT friends from trolls—if trolls are upsetting a friend, tell them to Ignore, Block, Report. Tell their family and other friends and encourage them to seek support.
Read the entire piece here.
In an article published in The Age around the same time, George Wright tackles the topic of trolls. He says
Trolls need a passive audience, it is their oxygen. If they feel they can say what they like without censure then they will. It’s one thing to escalate policing the problem to the likes of Twitter/Facebook and Google, but the most immediate and long-term solution is, as a society, to call them out and say that it is not OK, and sideline them.
When a spiteful tweet is targeting someone, the troll’s pleasure is increased when the victim’s own network is a silent witness, or even prolongs it by sharing it. Nasty comments can be diluted and the heat dissipated by your network of friends running interference so to speak. Fellowship is the key – early intervention in the event is preferable to legislation.
My own experience in these matters can be distilled into the following points. When witnessing someone being bullied online:
- Don’t ever share/retweet nasty comments – even “funny” ones.
- Give the target of the online attack some positive attention to balance out the negative. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with their position, but acknowledge they don’t deserve this level of disrespect.
- Don’t spin nasty comments into some form of comedy and then share them.
- Don’t follow/friend a troll and if you do, unfollow/unfriend them as soon as they start. They will soon get the message that their comments are negatively affecting their social status.
- Encourage the victim to log off and take a break for a few hours. Bullies get easily bored. Remind your friend that this is not a sign of surrender, there is no war, the troll does not win when you do nothing; they win when you keep raging at them. Invite your friend out for a coffee and laugh at the bully in real conversation.
- Don’t troll the bully.
- Don’t tell the victim to harden up or “get over it”.
Read The Age article here.