Like most of us, I hate trolls on the Internet. I really don’t understand someone who simply wants to provoke arguments and bad feelings with others on social media. Lately I have been fighting back in my own way, I have become a social media hall monitor.
Do you remember way back when schools had actual hall monitors, or the times when your teacher left the room but she would put one of the goody-two-shoes kids “in charge” of the classroom while she was gone because she knew those kids would tattle on anyone who misbehaved? Well I have decided that the only way to help get rid of trolls and get back to some semblance of decency and civility on social media is to tattle on people.
Yes, I am tattling on anyone who posts nasty, awful, or untrue things and it is actually helping, at least a little bit. Every social media platform has specific written guidelines for what is and is not acceptable, and they all have a relatively simple reporting mechanism, so I have begun to take the time to report when I see a post or comment that violates the guidelines.
On Twitter, you can report directly from an individual Tweet or profile for certain violations, including: spam, abusive or harmful content, inappropriate ads, self-harm and impersonation. According to Twitter, here are the steps for reporting:
How to report a Tweet in a Moment for violations:
1. Navigate to the Tweet within the Moment that you’d like to report.
2. Click or tap the icon
3. Click or tap Report Tweet.
4. Choose the type of issue you’d like to report to us.
5. Once you’ve submitted your report, we’ll provide recommendations for actions you can take to improve your Twitter experience
Facebook also has a fairly simply mechanism for reporting abusive content. According to Facebook, The best way to report abusive content or spam on Facebook is by using the Report link that appears near the content itself. For example here are the directions to report a comment:
To report a comment:
Go to the comment you want to report.
Click Hide this> Report.
Follow the on-screen instructions.
Taking the time to report these comments can be a hassle, but it can work.
Recently I have been using the Nextdoor.com neighborhood group discussion. It is a fun and simple way to chat with your local neighbors, to ask for recommendations about home services or report a lost pet or any number of things you may want to share with your neighbors.
Of course, with any social media, this group had a member who wanted to use the group as his own personal soapbox. He would write comments arguing with neighbors or promoting his own political agenda, which is clearly not the intent of this group and this behavior goes against the community guidelines. I posted some community news and he proceeded to argue with me, so I took the time to report him. At first he was temporarily banned from the group, but upon return he continued to argue with me and other neighbors, so I once again took the time to report his comments and he has since been removed from the group permanently. It is a small victory, but it is one step closer to regaining the civility and decency that I hope we can all return to.
It won’t solve every problem on social media and it won’t eliminate trolls completely, but if we all take the time to report these trolls, social media just might become a nicer place.