Online Bullying and Harassment

November 28th, 2016

Today more than ever, online bullying and harassment continue to occur on social media. We have all heard of examples involving children being bullied. In some cases, these situations have been very high profile, receiving national media attention. Unfortunately, they do not just involve kids. Online bullying and harassment have become problematic for employers.  Most often online harassment is peer to peer. Customers and the public can also target your employees.

Recently an arbitrator ruled that the Toronto Transit Commission must investigate and do more to protect their employees from online threats. Police officers involved in the Standing Rock pipeline protest have become targets of online threats. It has been reported that their family members have also been targeted.

Investigating online threats can be challenging and time-consuming. LexisNexis recently reported that 75% of individuals polled indicated they had no formal training on how to conduct an online investigation. Most were self-taught.

The increase in online harassment and bullying is likely to continue. With that being said, you will need to develop a plan to investigate. Important considerations are as follows:

  • Who is making the threats?
  • What is their motivation and why?
  • What is the nature of the threat?
  • How often and aggressive are the threats?
  • What steps will I need to put in place to protect the individual being targeted?
  • What local laws exist to protect against online threats?

To complete an assessment, you will need to gather social media posts and complete a review. The collection of information can be the most challenging and time-consuming part of the process.

Today many techniques and tools exist that a qualified open source investigator can unearth. To learn more, please feel free to contact me jrovers@afimacglobal.com

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