Harassment and Bullying in Social Media

Introduction 

The contemporary technological environment is faced with the problem of harassment and bullying. The social media is among the areas that receive the greatest challenges. It is estimated that 65% of the social media users across the globe have, at certain point of their lives, been victims of cybercrime. Harassment and bullying in the social media occurs in various ways, some of which include; scams, identity theft, hacking of social network profile, computer viruses, and the hacking of credit cards, among others. Studies have depicted that the rate of harassment varies between states. Jones, Mitchelln & Finkelhor, notes that the rate is 83% in China, 76% in Brazil, and 73% in the United States. In the U.S, the issue of identity theft is higher than the other regions, according to the studies in the recent past.  Harassment and bullying can have serious effects on the society, as well as on the individual. Various public policies have been formulated to address this problem.  This research will analyze the forms of harassment and bullying in the social media. 

Identity theft

The social media encompasses various forms of harassment and bullying. Whichever the type, it is apparent that the effect is cruel. Identity theft is one of the forms of harassment that has been on the rise in the recent past. In the modern world, the general population has turned to the use of credit cards while executing various transactions. The continuous use of the credit cards has increased the numbers of identity thieves. This reflects the threats that prone to modern development, despite the numerous advantages. Identity theft has serious consequences on the lives of individuals as people can lose all their money through the social media. Various governments have strived to eliminate the behavior but they have not been successful. 

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During the reign of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the use of social security numbers (SSNs) gained popularity. In the U.S, the system was useful because it would categorize the classifications of the people’s accounts. The government required the federal agencies to use SSNs while the banks and other financial institutions were obligated to obtain credit cards for their clients. The systems identified the taxable income of all people. However, SSNs targeted the greatest number of users, especially those in authority. The nature of this system made it vulnerable to identity theft. Presently, people purchase goods and services through online means to unfamiliar people. Nevertheless, not all transactions are having a specific account or a credit history support. The identity thieves gather adequate information concerning an individual, which in turn, is used to counterfeit the other person. As a result, the thieves obtain the goods and services and at the same time direct the charges to the victim of harassment and bullying. 

Hacking of the Social Media Profile 

Millions of people across the world use the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube for fun, while others use the sites to advertise their businesses. In this, millions of messages are posted on each day, some of which are considered offensive. It is apparent that the advance in technology has enabled people to hack the social profiles of individuals. However, the majority of those who hack the profiles have bad intentions. Some spoil the names of the account owners while others post dirty videos besides tagging thousands of friends. Many of these posts are distasteful and express an unpopular view of the account owner. Some messages that are posted on the timeline of an individual may entail campaign abuse or threats of violence. Even though these acts could lead to prosecution, it is not probable to get the account hacker. 

Scams

The social media scams are one of the most terrifying incidents that people should avoid. Report from the Pew Research Center acknowledged that scammers were finding their way into the social media to trick people to present their financial and personal information. Phishing attempts in the social media platforms have increased to 150% for the past one year. Studies have also noted that fraudsters use the social media to target hundreds of people at once. They imitate the activities of the users and take advantage of the business problems of most people. Some scammers counterfeit the consumer service accounts on the social media platforms and phish the bank password and login. The accounts of the imposters look similar to the original details of the businesses. However, the digits have an extra keyboard character or an underscore that is indeed theirs. When people tweet at the bank, scam artists interrupt the conversation and reply with a message that seems to be authentic. Other victims of social media harassment and bullying experience fake comments on their timelines. For instance, popular news stories might generate many comments to a post that the account owner never posted. Fraudsters add these comments with headlines that are likely to attract many people.

One of the most embarrassing moments is evident when scammers use the You Tube to post fake live-stream videos. These fraudsters have the knowledge of changing part of the profile to suit that of the account owner. For instance, research has depicted that scammers mimic the behaviors of companies providing business videos on the social media. It is apparent that they post a comment that makes people believe that they will watch a certain sports team by clicking on the links that they provide. However, the links lead the people to a fake website that requires personal information to watch the video. Many people, due to their anxiety, provide their information, which is used by the scammers to post the dirty video. 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment has migrated from the workplace to the digital domain. The method is believed to be acceptable by the social media users. It is noted that many social sites contain blurred sections which expose the private life of other people. For instance, a video of a particular colleague could be exposed to the social media as a form of punishment when two people disagree on specific issues. The results of the Pew Research Center noted that 735 of the adult users have experienced this form of harassment in the social media. Additionally, 40% of the internet users had individually experienced the form of abuse. Other studies have also depicted that sexual harassment in the social media results when people reject the sexual requests of other people.  For instance, an employee could post a sexual video of another employee for rejecting sexual favors. However, it is difficult to point the source of the dirty video of the message as the comments originate from an unknown user. Even though such information could be scrutinized, the process may take long, while at the same time the victim suffers shame and harassment. 

Conclusion

Harassment and bullying has become a common issue in the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube. It is estimated that many of the social media users across the globe have, at certain point of their lives, been victims of harassment and bullying. In the social media, harassment and bullying occurs in various ways, some of which include; scams, identity theft, hacking of social network profile, and sexual harassment, among other ways. Identity theft is considered to be one of the striking forms of harassment in the U.S. However, the rest of the forms of harassment are experienced in numerous parts of the world. The aspect of harassment requires advanced technology to identify the scammers and the fraudsters.

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