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A letter to social media companies

why we need to be talking about social media policy when it comes to online harassment

I Have been harassed on social media  here’s  my letter to social media companies

 Have you ever been harassed or “trolled” online or had to deal with harassment? If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. Unfortunately, I can tell you about it firsthand because it’s happened to me on multiple occasions. Mostly it has been in the form of inappropriate messages from men through social media – mainly Instagram. I am certain I am not the only one who has gone through this, I am sure many others have too. We just do our best to avoid it or report the problem, but most of the time nothing is being done, and since nothing is being done, we have to deal with this over and over again, which is frustrating and can be harmful. I have done everything: reported people, blocked them, made my accounts private, and still the messages keep coming–frankly, I’m tired of it., we all are. The big question I personally have for you all is this: What really happens when someone reports a page for inappropriate content? Is there a probationary period? Do you delete the reported accounts, or just make them invisible to me? You all thrive on large numbers of users, so I doubt you would risk these numbers going down by deleting an account because it seems to me that numbers are more important than users feeling safe from harassers. Your companies need to be held responsible for this. Your companies should be enforcing the rules you have in place for people using your platform. Better monitoring and enforcement of these rules should be taking priority over anything else. These branches should better notate and weed out red flag profiles that should not be featured on their site. For example, Instagram – In their current  policy – suggests how to handle harassment and how to avoid it, but not where to report it, that is an issue. Here are some statistics for you to show just how bad harassment is getting on social media. This presents the most common types of online harassment experienced by internet users in the United States. During the December 2018 survey it was found that 53 percent of internet users had personally experienced any kind of online harassment with 37 percent of respondents reporting to having experienced severe forms of online harassment such as physical threats, sexual harassment, stalking and sustained harassment. Furthermore, 56 percent of responding online harassment victims reported that they had been harassed on Facebook. This is from: “U.S. Internet Users Who Have Experienced Online Harassment 2018 | Statistic.”

I have considered not using social media all together for a bit of time just to avoid additional harassment. These inappropriate messages physically sicken me, and no one should ever have to feel violated and exposed on platforms that are meant to connect us to one another. Then again, by pulling the plug on social media, I am simply letting the trolls and creeps win. Instead, I hope to give a voice to men and women who may be too ashamed to bring up the injustices they have experienced online. I hope that sharing my personal story helps others find the courage to come forward. If enough people share their experiences, we might finally have a catalyst for change, prompting social media platforms to change their tune. Generations to come deserve the right to feel safe on the platforms you have created. If not for us, do it for the people in your life. Do the right thing and do it for them because we all deserve it.

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