Say No to Online Trolls
I absolutely love social media. From being the breeding grounds of big trends to the crazy meme’s, there always something to read or talk about. Yet, it seems some people use social media to spread hate to hurt and vilify others. They troll networks, to embarrass, criticise and make fun of people. And I’ve noticed several cases over the past few weeks. For example, the recent slandering of black women on Twitter. This incident involved an (ex) cast member from the popular web-series, BK Chat LDN and definitely struck a nerve.
A Pew Research Center survey published two years ago found that 70% of 18-to-24-year-olds who use the Internet had experienced harassment, and 26% of women that age said they’d been stalked online. I found these statistics alarming as it is disturbing. Social media should be fun! Not a place where some don’t feel safe.
As a young black girl, I’m saddened by these kind of incidents or statistics being reported. I’m all for women empowerment and embracing what you've been blessed with whether it's long or short legs, thickums or skinny. Body shaming or racism is a complete no, no in my books (and trolls love to attack people on this!)
We at Luvli Lounge know social media can be super fun but also daunting. You may worry about being ridiculed for a bit of dirt on your mirror selfie or tweeting your opinion, so we've come up with a social media survival kit/tips to help you feel confident, safe and most importantly enjoy your time being a social butterfly.
Hit back with a counter meme:
This is when you take something negative and make it positive, e.g. the #SavePepe campaign started by Matt Furie, was an attempt to transform the cartoon frog from a symbol of hate used by racist Donald Trump supporters, to a symbol of peace. Furie has collected about 600 positive or peaceful frog memes being generated by the campaign and counting. This tactic is especially useful when trying to hit back on vile and hate narratives to turn it into a more supportive one. Three cheers for solidarity!
Report, Report, Report
Most social media platforms have their own report function for those experiencing or witnessing abuse online. You can protect yourself and others by letting the platform know if someone is violating post polices. This happened to Mark Shreli, pharmaceutical boss, who harassed journalist Lauren Duca because she refused to accompany him to Donald Trump’s inauguration. He changed his profile image to a photo-shopped image of himself and Duca cuddling on a sofa, followed by several tweets with Shkreli declaring his love for her. Duca, reported Shkreli’s posts which led his Twitter account being suspended, as it violates the platforms policies.
There are other independent organizations such as Trollbusters, which is dedicated to doing combatting online trolls. They provide just-in-time rescue services to support women journalists, bloggers and publishers who are targets of cyber- harassment. They send positive memes, endorsements and testimonials into online feeds at the point of attack.
Call it out
Some people feel like they have no voice online and defenseless against online trolls. Don’t just be a bystander if you witness hateful trolling — instead be an “upstander” who defends the victim. We can help those being attacked by calling out abuse, harassment and hate speech can help change/silence the antics of online bullies.
Give as good as it gets
Whilst it’s not really a good idea to feed online trolls, sometimes using humour is a great way to beat a heckler. Twitter account for fast food chain, Wendy’s, hit back at trolls who were calling into question the restaurants sanitary standards. The exchange won lots of online praise for its witty and fun retorts. Yet, this is not a fool-proof option or for the fainted hearted!
See the full exchange here
If you’re not into humouring online trolls, blocking them is simple but effective. Every social media platform has this function, making it easy for users to stop trolls from viewing their posts. On Facebook you can make your posts visible only to friends and family. Similarly, on Twitter you can protect your tweets allowing you; to approve or deny request, your T
weets will only be searchable on Twitter by you and your followers, your followers will not be able to use the Retweet button to Retweet or quote your Tweets.
Last year, celebrity Chrissy Teigen
, who often responds to her critics has resorted to making her Tweets protected - allowing her to take control of who has access to her account or her posts. She is able to curb any negative energy that ends up on her page and hopefully she will receive nothing but support from the fans who truly love and support her.
Social media exists as a space for people to easily connect and keep in contact. There will always be those who want to spread hate – but we need to band together to negate this hate with positivity. And as many continue to rise up as watchdogs calling social media platforms into account, hopefully we can work together to curb hate online for good.
By Aseosa Uwagboe