Mass Media Harassment


Introduction

The use of websites for stalking, intimidating, harming, or disgracing a target is known as “media harassment,” sometimes known as “online bullying.” Abuse in the digital realm, ranging from slander to death threats, has been there since the beginning of the internet, and it's just getting worse. Despite the many advantages of the internet, the concept of cybercrime has grown in breadth as its usage has become more commonplace.

What defines Social Media Harassment?

Online abuse and harassment, primarily through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc., is known as social media harassment.

Posting rumours, threats, sexual comments, the victim's personal information, or derogatory labels are all examples of harmful bullying behaviour. Harassment on social media is a significant problem not just for teenagers and young adults but also for companies and their customers.

Harassment on social media can take many forms but often involves hostile actions taken by other users. Cyberbullying is also fairly common to affect adults and corporations, too, with dire results if the situation isn't addressed correctly.

Laws against cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and other types of online harassment exist to shield those who can be victimized from the traumatic experiences that can result from being a target of such behaviour.

What are examples of Harassment?

Some examples of harassment are −

  • Sending or uploading humiliating or personal photographs − A person takes an awkward picture of a girl he met in his class. He snaps a photo, uploads it to Facebook, and then shares it with his classmates. The image is then passed around to everyone.

  • Making fake social media profiles with the intent to insult someone − Another hockey player is envious of one of his teammate’s increased playing time on the rink. He pretends to be a scout on a social media website who is interested in Jerry, but his true goal is to humiliate and disillusion him.

  • Preying on a person's trust via instant messaging to get sensitive information and then spreading that information to others is called “phishing.” − A young girl works at a big MNC and has been recently promoted. One of the colleagues is displeased with the decision of her promotion. The man tricks her into giving him her phone number and then uses it to spread private information about the company outside. All the blame goes to her and she quits.

How do I complain about Social Media Harassment?

Due to the impersonal nature of online communication, dealing with online abuse may be challenging. So, it requires a more subtle approach than just an outright confrontation.

If you find yourself the subject of online abuse, you can take the following measures.

  • Keep screenshots of everything in case you need to prove something.

  • If you believe that someone is misusing your name online, you should let the relevant social media platforms know.

  • Make contact with key opinion leaders via social media.

  • Legislation geared at penalizing cyberbullying has been introduced in several countries. The victim should look up legal laws in their respective states and file a complaint.

  • Several provisions in many countries deal with cyberbullying, such as Section 66 E of the I.T. Act (India), Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (C.F.A.A.) (U.S.A.), Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (U.K.), etc.

  • You can file a complaint with the police or your state's cyber cells. You may specify which state or union territory should handle your complaint when you submit it, and the authorities in that location will be in charge of it from there on forth.

  • Various portals are established by the countries' governments and several N.G.O.s to help people affected both legally and mentally. For example, Stopbullying.gov in the U.S.A., Cyber B.A.A.P. in India, and cyber smile in the U.K.

What Types of Harassment are Illegal?

The following types of harassment are illegal −

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is the second most often reported kind of cybercrime after hacking. Online harassment is a crime that is typically conducted against female targets.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is when a person is harassed, defamed, intimidated, or harassed via the internet, mobile phones, or social media.

Phishing

By sending out fake texts or emails that contain a link to a malicious website, cybercriminals want to deceive their victims into providing sensitive information (such as their contact details, bank account details, and passwords) or infect their devices with malware.

Cyberterrorism and cyber extortion

Computer hacking is when all of a user's files are encrypted and held hostage until a ransom is paid.

Child solicitation and abuse

Luring a child over the internet into inappropriate sexual content.

Conclusion

  • The use of websites for stalking, intimidating, harming, or disgracing a target is what is known as “media harassment,” sometimes known as “online bullying.”

  • When online abuse and harassment are carried out through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc, it is known as social media harassment.

  • Mass media harassment affects the victim severely ruining their personal and professional lives while degrading their mental health.

  • There are laws in place to protect people from the trauma that can arise from being the object of cyberstalking, cyberbullying, or any other kind of online abuse.

  • Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and national governments have set up online resources to aid those who have been harmed.

FAQs

Q1. Is there a specific time after which a complaint should be filed against mass media harassment?

Ans. No, there is no time limit for which the victim has to take the harassment. A person can file a complaint as soon he starts facing any cyber issues.

Q2. Are there any government-established laws against cyberbullying?

Ans. Most countries have not established a specific law against cyberbullying. However, several provisions deal with cyberbullying such as Section 66 E of the IT Act (India), Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) (USA), Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (UK), etc.

Q3. What happens once a complaint is filed against mass media harassment?

Ans. The police authority in the State or Union Territory that you designate when filing a complaint on the site will be responsible for investigating the case.

Updated on: 27-Feb-2023

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