Social Media and Stalking: Q&A with the Safety Net Team

The Safety Net team recently wrote an article on social media and stalking for the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Check out the full Q&A here!

Here is a snippet of some of the questions and answers:

Q: What is social media?
A: Social media is user generated content that promotes engagement, sharing, and collaboration. It includes a wide range of websites and applications that can be accessible from computers, smart phones, and tablets. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are three of the most popular social media platforms, although there are many more. 

Q: How do abusers misuse social media?
A: Abusers misuse social media as a tool to harass, manipulate, and threaten. Abusers often send harassing messages or post offensive images – even explicit images of the victim that may or may not have been taken with consent (sometimes referred to as “revenge porn”). 

Q: How do survivors safely use social media? 
A: Social media usually involves sharing personal information. Users should look at privacy options and take note of what will always be public and what they have more control over. Some sites have rules against using fake names while others allow it. Many sites encourage users to share their location as well. Survivors should only share information that they are comfortable with. 

Q: What can a survivor do if an abuser is misusing online spaces? 
A: It depends on what the survivor wants to happen. One important step is documenting all contact and harassment. The survivor can take screenshots or photographs of the activity. A few platforms, like SnapChat, will tell the sender if the recipient takes a screenshot, so it might be safer to take a picture of the screen since notification may escalate abusive behavior. The survivor can also save all messages. It may be tempting to hit delete to make them disappear, but original messages will be important for evidence. 

Read the full article here.