How do you deal with offensive comments and content online?
While the opportunities for us to communicate with each other and exchange opinions online are greater than ever, sometimes comments can cross over from fair comment to offensiveness. So what should you do when you see something inappropriate?
Twitter, YouTube, blogs and news comment sections on websites often spark strong opinions in people.
Unfortunately, they can carry offensive comments, untruths, profanities and other unpleasant language. In the case of comments on blogs and online articles, comments are usually anonymous, allowing people to say things online that they’d never say face to face.
We all have to allow for opinions we disagree with – but there are times when free speech crosses into offensiveness. So what can you do if you see objectionable comments or content online?
1. Read the site rules
These include being positive and constructive with comments, avoiding giving out personal information, and not using any profanities, racist, sexist, abusive, threatening, defamatory, obscene or pornographic language.
If you think rules have been breached on any website you visit, it’s worth getting in touch with the website owner. For larger websites, there is usually a ‘contact us’ link clearly visible at the top or bottom of the page.
2. Flag your concerns
If you find a comment you consider offensive on this website – www.bt.com/btlife – you can alert us by clicking the ‘flag’ button that appears under each comment when you hover over it with your mouse. Once the comment has been flagged, the moderators will be alerted to review it.
If you see an offensive comment on BT Yahoo!, click the ‘report abuse’ button under the comment. You’ll then see a form to let the editorial team know why you’ve reported the comment, and they will take action.
Most large websites will have a system similar to this, usually using terms like ‘flag’, ‘alert’ or ‘report abuse’.
3. Take it further
If you feel your concerns haven’t been heard, you can contact True Vision – the UK hotline for reporting hate crime.
Remember that if you find a comment or a piece of content offensive, the chances are other people will – so if you feel strongly that something has breached either the rules of the website or common decency, it’s worth getting in touch with your concerns.
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