Here’s how to fight harassment on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat

social media harassment facebook

It’s tough to argue that kids have it better when it comes to bullying these days. The always-connected lifestyle means that the abuse doesn’t necessarily stop when the child gets home.

Between Facebook, Twitter and other social media services, there are loads of avenues that play host to cyber-abuse. But these platforms also give you a few ways to fight back — we take a look at these solutions.

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The micro-blog came under plenty of criticism as a haven for online abuse, but we’ve seen the service take loads of steps since then.

For starters, Twitter lets you protect your tweets (settings>privacy and safety) so only your followers can see the tweets. This also means that any future followers will need to be approved by you.

While you’re in the “privacy and safety” tab, you should also consider unticking the “receive messages from anyone” box, while also unticking the ability for anyone to tag you in photos if you so wish.

Staying in the “privacy and safety” tab, you’ll also want to check out the “discoverability” field. Here, you’ll want to untick the options that let people find you via your email address or phone number. This way, even if your abuser has your number/email, they can’t extend the abuse to yet another platform.

The “muted words” function, at the bottom of the “privacy and safety” tab, is also worth investigating, in case specific terms are used against you. Tap this option to set specific words or phrases you’d like to mute, giving you the option to mute it from your timeline and notifications. If that’s not enough, you can also mute Twitter accounts, being an option above “muted words”. This way, if you don’t want any unfollow drama, you can still keep them out of your timeline.

You’ll also want to enable login verification (account>security), making it tougher for cyber-bullies to get into your account. Whenever you log in to Twitter, a verification code will be sent to your phone via SMS. This way, bullies can’t access your Twitter account if they don’t have your phone.

Finally, visit notifications>advanced filters to mute notifications from people you don’t follow, those who have a default/egg profile photo and those who haven’t confirmed their details.


The world’s largest social network isn’t immune to harassment either, so how has the company fought back?

Visit settings>privacy and “who can look me up” first of all. Tweaking this option means people can’t find you via search engines (Google), email or phone number. This section also lets you tweak who can see your posts (friends, public etc) and who can send you a friend request.

Social media platforms have come up with a variety of tools to fight harassment and bullying

You’ll also want to configure login security functionality (settings>security and login), helping to thwart people trying to hack into your account. From here, you can set up two-factor authentication, allowing you to receive a PIN via email or smartphone before logging in. The firm can also notify you if your account logs in from a device/browser you don’t normally use. So if you see a login from a Mac and you don’t have an Apple computer, well… something is up.

Blocking is another powerful feature in Facebook too, as you click on the ellipsis (…) on an offending profile and choose “block”. You can access your “blocked” tab via settings>blocking, giving you details on who you’ve blacklisted.

Want to stay friends with someone but don’t want to see their content in your timeline? Then visit their profile and highlight the “following” button — it should then give you the option of unfollowing that person.


It’s not just Facebook and Twitter that see bullying, as Instagram is no stranger to this either. Much like the other two networks, the photo-based platform has stepped up to deliver a few tools as well.

For starters, you can activate two-factor authentication by visiting options>two-factor authentication. This way, you’ll require a security code issued by Instagram (via SMS) to log on, thwarting people trying to hack into your account.

Want to take it a step further? Then you can also make your account private with the “private account” toggle in options. This way, only existing followers and people you vet will be allowed to see your timeline.

Want to block specific people though? Visit their profile and tap the ellipsis (…) in the top right corner, then tap “block” to get this done (you can view all your blocked contacts by visiting options and “blocked users”). You can also tap the “hide your story” button, underneath “block”, to prevent the contact from seeing your Instagram Stories.

Instagram’s engineers have also paid attention to the comments function, with a few settings available via options>comments. From here, you can hide inappropriate comments with a toggle or hide comments that feature specific words or phrases.


Yes, the ephemeral social media darling also has a few tools to thwart harassment and the like, starting with the blocking functionality.

To block a user, visit their profile (either by searching for them or finding them in your friend list), tap the cog/gear icon in the top right corner, and select “block”. Simple stuff really. Your list of blocked users can be found in the settings menu.

Much like the other services on this list, you can also enable two-step verification (settings>login verification). This means you’ll need a verification code via SMS or an authentication app to hop onto Snapchat.

Want to lock down your profile? Then a visit to settings and the “who can…” field reveals a few options. Here, you can tweak who can contact you (everyone or friends only), who can see your story (everyone, friends or selected people) and who can see you in Quick Add (just an on/off toggle).

Would you like to report someone? Then visit “support” in settings, tap the “policies and safety” field and choose “report a safety concern”. From here, you’ll be presented with a list of options to choose from — select “report a safety concern” once again.

The following menu lets you report a story you viewed, a snap map, a snap or chat you received or an entire Snapchat account. This screen also lets you report your account as hacked.

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