Anti-Bullying Efforts on Social Media

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August, 2019

Sure, technology is great, but can you imagine growing up in the age of social media? It can be tough enough as it is undergoing all the changes at that age, but add in social media and online trolls, and puberty just got a whole lot more difficult. Especially with apps like Yolo that practically appear to be designed for bullies, it seems like everywhere kids and teens turn, there is the potential to be bullied by someone sitting behind a keyboard and feeling brave. Thankfully, apps like Instagram are taking a stand.

Instagram just launched an anti-bullying feature in July that encourages positive interactions, and discourages negative ones. The new feature is powered by AI. When a user goes to post a negative comment on someone’s photo, they will be alerted. It will give them the chance to reflect and undo the comment before the recipient sees the notification for a new comment. Additionally, a new featured called “Restrict” will allow individuals to restrict their bully’s access to their page. Some young people are reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully for fear of retaliation, or because they will no longer be able to see what their bully is posting about them. By using the Restrict feature on a bully, those comments will be hidden to everyone but the bully on posts. Bullies also won’t be able to see when a user is active or when direct messages have been viewed.

“For a small business, this can have a large impact.”

It isn’t just kids that have to face this, either. It isn’t uncommon for a bad review to feel like a slap in the face to a small business owner. Why? For a small business, this can have a large impact. One bad review can make their ratings go down. Often times, people are looking for the bad reviews, not the good ones. So that one review that seems meaningless can make all the difference. Our advice? The outcome depends on how you respond, and yes, you should almost always respond. Don’t jump the gun and say something nasty back, even if the person writing the review is completely wrong. The first thing you need to do is apologize for the inconvenience they suffered, then offer to reach out to the individual to solve the problem. Take the conversation elsewhere by calling or emailing them; it should not be on Facebook for the public to see. If the problem is easily solved and the relationship is rebuilt, you may even have the opportunity to politely ask if they’ll remove their bad review. If not, at least viewers in the future will see that you handled it professionally.

 

If, as an adult, you’re being bullied online, it’s best to simply not engage. If you feel threatened, report it. That’s why the feature is there.

 

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