LetterBox: Women share their stories of online trolling

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Nearly four in ten say they are mocked every time they go online, with a third targeted for their physical appearance.

Social media users deserve a safe space online where they can engage with their peers and the content they enjoy

Peter Alfred-Adekeye, founder of LetterBox

Eight in ten think the inability to work out the identity of offenders is a major issue that needs addressing.

Three-quarters said they want to feel a stronger sense of protection from the platforms they use, while 67 percent would like to see stricter rules and consequences in place.

And 63 percent would like to see more security to prevent strangers from being able to make contact.

Peter Alfred-Adekeye, founder of secure messaging platform LetterBox, which commissioned the research, said: “The research clearly shows people want to see action while feeling safe online when connecting with others.

“The results of this survey have also shown people actually want change and are tired of where things currently stand in the social media landscape.

“Evidently, enough is enough and things need to change.”

Other common trolling themes are continuous negative comments on posts and insistence the victim’s point of view was wrong.

And more severe experiences cited by some respondents include threats of death, rape and even being mocked over the passing of a loved one.

It also emerged a quarter of users have witnessed racially motivated messages – and 24 percent have seen homophobic messages.

The official definition of trolling centres around “deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them” – with nearly a third also admitting they’ve done the same to someone else.

While 46 percent reckon they have unintentionally trolled someone online before.

Upon witnessing such behaviour either themselves or to others, 68 percent of those polled via OnePoll had reported trolling – although 59 percent admit they’ve turned a blind eye in the past.

And 56 percent have quit social media because of trolling, though 19 percent have since returned.

Peter Alfred-Adekeye added: “Social media users deserve a safe space online where they can engage with their peers and the content they enjoy and this is exactly why I founded LetterBox.

“Sadly, prior to our platform, all existing social media platforms are founded upon pseudonymity, which makes it impossible for them to identify and root out abusers.

“We’ve tried to introduce trust into social media by tying user profiles to their legal names and postal addresses and verifying these by requiring all users to provide a legal proof-of-address at signup for account activation.”

You can read the platform’s manifesto blog here.

TOP 10 MOST COMMON WAYS VICTIMS HAVE BEEN TROLLED:

  1. Commenting on all my posts continuously to annoy me
  2. Person kept attacking my point of view insisting it was wrong
  3. Someone making fun of my physical appearance
  4. Someone picking up on comments I’ve made
  5. Someone looking at my old posts trying to discredit me
  6. Wouldn’t stop messaging me negative content
  7. Continuously picked at what they knew upset me
  8. Have threatened to harm me physically through text or online message
  9. They shared personal information about me online
  10. Flooding my social media with repetitive messages

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