What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying can take a variety of different forms, and effectively includes anything that constitutes bullying, which is done online. Some examples of cyberbullying include:
- The posting of mean comments on a social media site.
- Threatening to share private content, such as a video or photo that may make the individual feel bad, ashamed or embarrassed.
- Ignoring or excluding someone online.
- Humiliating someone through the creation of a fake account that posts information about the individual, implying it is their account.
- Tricking someone to engage with a fake account.
Sadly, many school-aged children, teenagers and even adults are subjected to cyberbullying in Australia, and cyberbullying may occur via single instances of abuse or may be ongoing. One of the ways that cyberbullying can be ‘ongoing’ is via other people sharing the content online. Cyberbullying has extremely negative effects for victims, including feeling humiliated, embarrassed and upset, not to mention the significant mental and emotional impacts cyberbullying can have.
A Case on Cyberbullying
Sarah* pseudonym used
Internet Removals (an online reputation management agency in Australia) was contacted by Sarah, a university student in Queensland. Sarah was a victim of cyberbullying; someone had created a fake Instagram account that looked very similar to Sarah’s real Instagram account. Her real account had a large number of followers and posts, and the fake account had taken many of her pictures and also followed Sarah’s friends, likely to promote the legitimacy of the account. The fake account had a link to an Only Fans website and prompted people to click the link to view Sarah’s private and sexual images and videos. Sarah did not have an Only Fans account and was extremely upset, embarrassed and angry that someone was claiming she was using Only Fans.
Aside from her concern about family and friends seeing the page, Sarah was about to finish her university degree and was really worried that future employers might see the social media account, as it used her real name, and that this would negatively impact her chances of employment.
Internet Removals was able to assist Sarah with the fake Instagram account removal, however, as part of the searches conducted, Internet Removals also identified a number of other fake accounts on other social media platforms that used Sarah’s photographs. Some of these accounts used a slight alteration of Sarah’s name, such as changing a letter in her last name, and other accounts used entirely different names. Internet Removals was able to have success in applying to remove all fake content, assisting Sarah’s peace of mind and online reputation.
It isn’t always known why people create fake accounts in this manner, and the perpetrator may not always be known to the victim. In this instance, Sarah was unaware of who had made the fake accounts, but it is likely that the perpetrator was unknown to her and was instead someone looking for an opportunity to make money. The perpetrator likely thought that by taking Sarah’s photos, social media users would be interested in seeing private content, and this would prompt them to sign up and pay for the Only Fans account. Internet Removals also notified Only Fans about the fake user and had the fake Only Fans account removed.
Now you can protect yourself and get the negative content removed
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of cyberbullying, you can contact us at Internet Removals to discuss your concerns. This may relate to social media posts, online articles or others.
We may be able to assist you with:
- Identifying content that constitutes cyberbullying on a variety of online platforms;
- Applications for removal of online content;
- Online Reputation Management.
We can be contacted by either phoning 1300 039 196 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: There is no obligation in contacting Internet Removals for advice relating to online defamatory content and our services with removal. Internet Removals is not providing any legal advice. If legal advice is recommended or required, Internet Removals can refer you to IRG Law Pty Ltd. You should not rely upon the contents of this newsletter for any litigation, decision to litigate or decision to publish material online.