Social media can often plays an important part in people's social lives as well as being an important part of their professional lives and ability to promote their work. Unfortunately, this openness and ability to interact can also expose some people to the darker elements in society and many public figures receive disturbing threats. Here are some steps to take if you are receiving threatening messages via social media.
Screen shot and record the messages
Some messages can delete after a certain time on some social media platforms, or be recalled by the sender. It is important to keep a personal record of the messages that you receive so that you can prove an ongoing case of harassment. It can also be useful to keep all of the messages as in some cases the messages can emanate from several profiles which are all authored by the same person. Technical experts can trace the IP and writing style of the messages to show this connection, which can be useful when you are looking to prove the extent and severity of the harassment that you are receiving.
You should also contact the social media company so that they can look to see whether the user can be banned under the terms of service for their platform.
Inform the police
Using a carriage service such as a social media site to harass people is a criminal offense, and the police should act upon this evidence. They can also help you with a restraining order if you have some evidence of who is sending the threats. In some cases, as this is relatively new law, police may not be confident in how to follow up this issue. It can be helpful to contact a legal firm that has an expert in this field to help you to interact with the police. Many law firms will take on pro bono assistance in these sorts of cases, as part of their commitment to helping the community.
Use legal supports to inform international police services
In some cases, your harasser may not be located in Australia. It can be useful to get your lawyer to contact local law enforcement in their area and provide evidence of the harassment so that the international law enforcements officials can pursue the matter. Even if electronic harassment is not yet a criminal offense in their location, this can provide evidence if and when it does become relevant to them.
If you are finding yourself the target of an online harassment campaign, it is a good idea to seek professional legal support from a law firm to stop the harassment and stop the harasser from continuing their behaviours.