Teens and Sextortion: What Online Safety Teams Want You to Know

By October 3, 2017 Sextortion No Comments

Safety teams at social media companies are working hard to ensure that you know the options when it comes to your online experience. Not only can they point you to tools to help you report abusive content, they can also suggest proactive steps you can take to protect your online persona. As part of Thorn’s Stop Sextortion campaign, Public Policy representatives from Thorn partner companies – Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety at Facebook and Patricia Cartes, Head of Global Trust & Safety Outreach at Twitter — collaborated to provide you with their top tips on how to safeguard against, and respond to, sextortion.

Get to know the help center. Explore the help and safety centers on any social media site or app you’re using. That way if something goes wrong for you or a friend, you will already be empowered with the information you need to get help.

Control your online space. Remember that you have options when it comes to who can see what on your profile, such as your posts or tweets. Take charge of your online presence and find out more about Facebook privacy and security settings and controlling your experience on Twitter.

Facebook Pro Tip

Do a monthly privacy check. It’s a good idea to check your privacy settings once in awhile to make sure your information is only shared with the people you want it to be able to see it. Since that might change over time, you might have shared something a few months ago that you’d prefer to share with a smaller group of people now.

Practice good “password hygiene.” This basically means adopting a few good habits to keep your password safe. Here are our favorite pro tips:

  • Never share your password with anyone.
  • Choose long passwords that would be hard to guess. Include a variety of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Use a different password for every account. There are apps that can help you generate strong passwords and keep track of them all.
  • Enable two-step verification for your account on both Facebook and Twitter

Use special care when interacting with people you don’t know in real life. Social media is a place for you to connect with the people and things you care about. Before accepting someone as a friend, you might want to take a look at the person’s profile. Have you ever met them in person? Do you have friends in common? People with bad intentions may pretend to be who they’re not online, and might even pose as someone you know to do that. If someone isn’t who they say they are, you can report them on Facebook, and here on Twitter.

Protect yourself from abuse. Remember, you have the option to unfriend, unfollow, mute or block people who harass you online. Find out more about how to report abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

Report. If someone is threatening to share your private images without your permission, our safety teams are here to help. You can report sextortion here on Facebook and here on Twitter.

Twitter Pro Tip

The form we’ve linked to here is intended for those who were minors when the reported images were taken. If you’re an adult, you may report non-consensual nudity to us here.

Help your friends report. These situations can be quite stressful. Having a friend alongside to help you make a report to us, or who can go with you to talk with an adult, can make it a lot easier.

Remember that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps are supposed to be a fun and safe space to connect with your friends. If you ever feel threatened, don’t wait! Talk with a trusted adult.

When it comes to sextortion, we need to look out for our friends, be our own advocates, and invest in creating digital spaces that are positive and enjoyable.