Keeping Facebook a fun and safe space means doing your part to keep it that way. While Facebook does not tolerate bullying and makes an effort to remove inappropriate content, your action is often the first line of defense. Start by reporting posts that involve bullying or profiles of people who often bully. Don’t respond to people who are out to upset you or taunt you. If the bullying is serious, get the police involved. Parents can also help deal with and prevent bullying by informing their children and being a good role model.
Using Facebook Features
Identify bullying in posts.
Online bullying often looks different than bullying that happens in-person, and you’ll need to identify the behaviors if you want to report them. Bullying might be saying mean comments (such as, “Levi doesn’t have any friends, I don’t even know why he comes to school.”) or negatively replying to posts (for example, writing, “Why do you write such stupid things?” or “Your photos make you look dumb.”). Someone might post an embarrassing photo or video of you which the clear intent of harming you or ridiculing you.
- If someone starts a group or page putting you down (such as, “All the Reasons Ryan Sucks”), you can definitely report this as bullying.
Report a negative post
As soon as you see questionable content, take action. Whether you know the person or not, you can write a report on Facebook and send it to Facebook administration for review. They will likely notify the poster and the content will be blocked or erased.
- To report content, click “Report post” on the original post and click through the options provided. When finished, click “Submit” to send it to Facebook.
- For example, you might see someone bullying someone else in an article thread. Even if you don’t know the people, you can still report the bullying.
Report the bully
If someone continues to harass you or post mean things about you, report their profile. You can report any profile, even if you’re not friends. You can specify why you are reporting the person when you make the report.
- To make a report of the person, go to the person’s Facebook page and click “Report” and click through what you are reporting.
- For example, if you see someone who constantly attacks other people or their views, report this person.
Unfriend or block the bully.
Whether you’re friends with the person on Facebook or not, you can block the bully. Blocking a person means you cannot interact with them and they cannot interact with you. They cannot tag you, see your content, start a conversation with you, or add you as a friend.
- If you unblock the person, you will not be friends on Facebook, even if you were friends when you blocked them.
- The bully can still write about you on Facebook on their timeline, but they will not be able to tag you or share their post with you, even if it’s publicly shared. You will not see their posts.
Use Facebook’s Social Reporting tool.
You might see content you don’t like but that doesn’t violate Facebook’s terms of service. It might be questionable or just something you don’t like. If you’re not sure whether the content is appropriate for Facebook, click “Report post.” Click through and determine what can be done.
- If it does not violate Facebook’s terms, then you can message the person and ask them to remove the post. Say, “That post isn’t nice. Would you mind taking it down?”
Disengaging from Negative Interactions
Write a comment or message telling them to stop.
Initially, it might be enough to ask the person to stop bothering you. If they keep it up, leave a public comment letting them know you’re not okay with their behavior. Publicly calling them out and knowing that other people can read your comments might shame them into stopping.
- For example, if you write a comment on an article and somebody attacks your views, write a private message or comment, “That was really rude. It sounds like we have differing opinions but please don’t insult me.”
- If a private message doesn’t work, reply publicly. For example, you might reply to their comment with, “This comment is really rude and inappropriate. There’s no need to use personal attacks. Please stop.”
Avoid bullying or insulting them back.
You might feel safe responding from the relative “safety” of your computer, but firing back insults will only increase the problem and could result in more conflict and even real-life confrontation. Ignore their attempts to upset you into responding, even if they egg you on.
- If someone attacks you or says mean things about you (whether you know them or not), don’t respond with another insult. Take some time to cool down with some deep breaths and let it go.
- If you must comment back, say something like, “We differ in opinion and I don’t think we’ll change each other’s minds. Let’s end the discussion there” or “Please don’t insult me.”
Don’t respond to mean comments.
Often, bullies want a rise or a response from someone. Don’t give the bully the satisfaction of knowing you or someone else is affected by their comments. Ignore the comments and don’t let them get to you.
- You might be angry or upset when you first see a comment that’s about you or someone you know. Take a moment and don’t respond right away. Calm down so that you don’t let the person (or the comment) get to you.
Handling Serious Bullying
Document evidence of bullying.
If the bully is sharing inappropriate content, is endlessly harassing you, or is breaking any laws, make sure to document these things. Take screenshots or photos of the bullying comments to use as evidence. That way, you’ll be ready with evidence if you want to go to the internet service provider, school administration, or police.
- Take a photo of the content and make sure it clearly shows the name of the person posting. You may also want to take a photo of their profile to show that you are recording their identity and not somebody else by the same name.
Involve law enforcement.
The police should be involved if you have received physical threats, racial taunts, or another form of major harassment or insult. Contact law enforcement immediately if someone posted photos or videos of you being mistreated, demeaned, or showing nudity.
- If someone posted nude photos or videos of you and you are under 18, this is a very serious offense and the person could get into major legal problems. Report the content right away and do not take a screenshot as this could be considered spreading child pornography.
Get your school involved.
Consider going to see a guidance counselor for help at your school or university. Ask them about the school policy regarding bullying and harassment. If it includes bullying that happens on the internet, you may be able to get the school involved in discipline.
- Find out what help and resources are available to you and how you can get the bullying to stop.
Preventing Further Bullying
Alert people to bullying behaviors.
Put a stop to cyberbullying on Facebook by pointing out that it’s wrong and reminding those who participate in it how it harms others. Whether you’re involved in the discussion or you’re responding to strangers, you can gently let them know that their behavior is unacceptable and inappropriate. This can help conversations from getting out of hand.
- For example, if you notice a thread getting out of hand, step in and say, “Let’s talk about this without insults or harsh words. There’s no need for that.”
Set a good example.
Don’t post negative, rude, or disparaging comments about other people. If you see someone else making those kinds of posts, don’t share or like them. Avoid participating in hurtful gossip about others, even if it’s over private messaging.
Make your Facebook account as private as possible.
Be sure to make your settings safe by only letting your known friends see your account and interact with you. Avoid disclosing any private information on your public profile such as where you live or what your phone number is. Make all of your posts, contacts, and information private and unable to be seen by anyone who is not your friend on Facebook to protect your identity and information.
- Some people choose their display name by only disclosing their first and middle names instead of including their last names.
- Even if your account is set to private, think carefully before you post something. Consider how you might feel about the post ten years from now.
Close your Facebook account
If you’re unhappy using your Facebook account or you feel like events on Facebook are out of control, consider deleting your Facebook account. You can always open a new account when you’re feeling stronger.
- If Facebook is causing you more headache than connection, consider deleting your account. That way, nobody can contact you or harass you on Facebook and you will be completely removed from it.
Dealing with Bullying as a Parent
Educate your child about bullying.
You don’t want your child to be bullied or be a bully. Talk to your kids about bullying behavior to stop it before it starts. Go over how bullying hurts other people and makes the bully look bad. Talk about consequences of bullying, such as losing friends, getting in trouble, and risking school intervention.
- Ask your children, “What would it feel like if somebody said something mean to you on Facebook?”
- You can also ask, “What would you do if someone said something mean about you or your friend?” This can help build critical thinking skills and increase empathy.
Set boundaries for Facebook use.
Supervise your child’s use of Facebook and all other social media. Monitor their social media use and put into place some firm boundaries. You can put the computer in a public part of your home, only allow social media at certain times of the day, or create other rules for your child’s safety and well-being.
- Don’t allow your children to be on Facebook if they’re under 13. Facebook’s rules prevent children under 13 from having an account.
- If your child is being bullied on Facebook, have them delete their account, and keep them from using social media until they are older. Help them find healthy and productive ways to have fun and socialize with their peers face-to-face.
Model appropriate behaviors.
Children learn best by observing those around them. Be careful how you treat people both in day-to-day living and online. Model good behaviors for your children so that they learn to respect others and not bully.
- Show your children how you handle difficult situations. For example, if someone says something mean to you on Facebook, show your children a mature response.
- Report anyone who behaves suspiciously or behaves inappropriately to Facebook. It is better that they handle the situation with their skills and responsibilities to ensure that the site is a safe and enjoyable place to spend time.