Responding to Offensive, Harassing or Threatening Social Media Messages 

If you have been exposed to offensive or harassing messages though Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites there are a number of things that you can do;

  • Many social media sites have established mechanisms for reporting abusive behavior and blocking abusive users.  Contact the the social media site where the comments or messages were posted.  We have provided links below to some of the most popular social media sites and have also directed you to a more comprehensive list compiled by the Cyberbullying Research Centre which includes sites like Vine, Skype and Pinterest;
  • Keep copies of all of the messages, posts, or comments that are of concern and, if possible, document who made each of the comments; 
  • Do not retaliate or do anything that might be perceived by an outsider to have contributed to the problem.  Your response should be to calmly tell them to stop. 

In situations involving aggressive and/or threatening behaviour, you are strongly urged to contact UW Police Services (ext. 22222 or 519-888-4911) for assitance and guidance. If you are not on campus, contact your local police.

Links for additional social media sites (Vine, Skype, Pinterest, etc) can be found here.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission takes cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment seriously.  Here is what they have to say,

"While many forms of sexual harassment take place through person-to-person contact, sexual harassment is also happening at alarming rates through online technology. Email, blogs, social networking sites, chat rooms, dating websites, cell phone text messaging, etc. are all possible domains for sexual harassment. “Cyber-harassment,” as it is also known, can be carried out by anyone, including a co-worker, a manager, a housing provider, a fellow tenant, a fellow student, a teacher, school staff or a stranger. The growth of technology has created an unprecedented potential for the viral spread of online comment, photographs, video images, etc. The anonymity afforded by many forms of online communication may make it a vehicle of choice for harassers."