Well how surprising is it that after my blog from a couple of days ago someone decided to post my deceased brother’s picture on their profile picture on Facebook? Not only did they do that but they tried posting any personal information they could find out about me.Of course the coward labelled “Sam Lane” blocked me from seeing anything but their profile picture and cover but they did allow friends to see some of the posts. A very deliberate taunt.
Cyber bullies and trolls are always in full force on social media. Something that just too many adults and children experience today without much remedy. What is more surprising is that there is no mechanism within Facebook to report an issue like this. Unless the person posts overt threats – no one will intervene. Unless the troll is posting pictures of you – there is no way to report it. Facebook kindly suggests that you contact the troll posting and ask them to change it or remove it. Think of what this means for hundreds if not thousands of people bullied each and everyday on social media.
And behind every troll is a real person. In my blog last week I pointed out a couple of individuals who posted in plain site that they were conspiring to do something to me. Those profiles were real and as one mentioned he “is already taking that route now”. He initially tried to contact my webhosting server and insisted that they take down my website. He got quite nasty with them and then decided that he would come after me personally.
I see the post above as not a mere threat but an already executed action by the admission of the writer. This type of hate mongering and bullying is something people face each day on social media. But what does it do for everyday folks who suffer the consequences of the big bully? All too often especially with younger people the bullying can have devastating effects. But the laws on cyber bullying and libel are evolving and changing everyday.
No longer does a threat have to have criminal consequences to be considered serious or actionable. Those that delve into other areas of law are being recognized and challenged each day. A young teen in Georgia was being bullied by several classmates. They put up a fake profile page and posted many derogatory comments and photos of the girl. The girl and her parents sued for libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Georgia Court of Appeals also ruled that the parents of the boy who put up the fake site could be held liable for not having him delete the page once they found out about it.
In my case, we have two grown up professionals talking about butting into an issue that they have only limited knowledge of and conspiring to cause me harm. Boys, grow up, concentrate on your families, your work and your maturity. Although people may feel they have the freedom to say or post whatever they want on Social Media, words can have a long and lasting impact.