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Being the target of online abuse is not easy to deal with. Knowing the appropriate steps to take to address your situation can help you through the process.

When to report it?

We’ve all seen something on the Internet we disagree with or have received unwanted communication. Such behavior does not necessarily constitute online abuse. If you see or receive an reply you don’t like, unfollow and end any communication with that account. 

If the behavior continues, it is recommended that you block the account. Blocking will prevent that person from following you, seeing your profile image on their profile page, or in their timeline; additionally, their replies or mentions will not show in your Notifications tab (although these Tweets may still appear in search).

Abusive accounts often lose interest once they realize that you will not respond. If the account in question is a friend, try addressing the issue offline. If you have had a misunderstanding, it may be possible to clear the matter up face to face or with the help of a trusted individual.

If you continue receiving unwanted, targeted and continuous replies on Twitter, and feel it constitutes online abuse, consider reporting the behavior to Twitter.

Take threats seriously 

If you believe you are in physical danger, contact the local law enforcement authorities who have the tools to address the issue.

If you decide to work with law enforcement, make sure to do the following:

  • Document the violent or abusive messages with print-outs or screenshots
  • Be as specific as possible about why you are concerned
  • Provide any context you have around who you believe might be involved, such as evidence of abusive behavior found on other websites
  • Provide any information regarding previous threats you may have received 

You can report the content to Twitter here

Reach out to the people you trust

When dealing with negative or hurtful interactions, it can help to turn to family and friends for support and advice. Oftentimes, talking with your relatives or a close friend may help you figure out how you want to handle the situation or let you express your feelings so you can move on.

Help others

Trying to figure out how to help someone in such a situation can be daunting. This Twitter Support article offers some suggestions for how to help a friend or family member with online abuse.  

If you see a violent or abusive message directed at someone else, communicate your concern to the recipient and encourage them to contact Twitter and their local authorities. 

There are also many online safety resources that can help.

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