Following the shocking suicide death of Robin Williams, his daughter became the unfortunate victim of cyber bullying. Some of Williams’ fans were upset his daughter, Zelda Williams, wasn’t posting enough personal photos of her and her father on Twitter. And some people were more than vicious. At least two users sent her harassing messages and disturbing photos, including a Photoshopped image that was supposed to be her father’s corpse, reports ABC News.”I’m shaking,” Williams tweeted before deleting the message.The attacks caused Zelda, 25, to close down her social media accounts. And now Twitter says it is reviewing it policies in light of the harassment.
According to Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety at Twitter, the social media network “will not tolerate abuse of this nature.”
He added in a statement to ABC News: “We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one. This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”
Zelda at first fought back against her online bullies, but could take no more and closed her accounts–maybe for good.
“I will be leaving this account for a while (while) I heal and decide if I’ll be deleting it or not,” she wrote. “In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends. Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them, is cruel and unnecessary.”
Many people have experienced online bullying. But there are things you can do to protect yourself.
–Ignore the bully. Don’t give them the attention they crave. “As upsetting as it can be, recognize that it’s extremely important that you DO NOT respond to this person. Engaging with the bully often only makes matters worse. They feed off their victim’s misery and pain,” reports ABC News.
–Cut the person off. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, cease all communication with the bully. “Facebook and instant messenger providers allow you to block other users so that they can no longer interact with you. If for some reason it’s not possible to block a cyberbully, you can always screen their calls and delete their messages without opening them,” reports StopCyberBullying.org.
–Keep a record. Take screenshots of the harassing posts. This is your evidence of the online bullying.
–Contact the social media operators. “Request that they take the content down immediately, and let them know that you’re filing a case with your local police department. Remain persistent. Continue calling and emailing the website operators until the content has been removed,” ABC News.
–Contact the police & IC3. Some police departments now have Internet crimes divisions. While they might not be able to do much, it is important to make an official complaint. Also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which is a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
–Don’t tit for tat. Don’t try to one-up your bully. It will only escalate the situation and not solve it. “Starting your own cyberbullying campaign against the bully will get you nowhere, especially if you end up breaking state laws or school rules,” reports StopCyberBullying.org.