This week ive spoken to some fellow bloggers, who have all encountered some form of social media stalking. To say I was shocked at how common this is becoming, is a understatment. I, myself have had a fair few social media stalkers. Mainly on my Instagram account, they like to think i don’t know who they are. Yet it is so easy to spot. I have also just recently encountered, stalking on my blog. That i don’t mind if im honest, as they don’t leave comments, they just up my viewing stats!! Which is always a bonus haha.
What is stalking?
The Protection of Freedoms Act amended the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 by identifying stalking as a criminal offence. The amendments came into force in November 2012.
The 2012 Act adds two new offences to the 1997 Act. These are stalking and (in its more aggravated form) stalking which causes the victim to fear violence or suffer serious alarm or distress. To be guilty of the offence of stalking the offender must, on at least two occasions, indulge in conduct that causes the victim harassment, alarm or distress. The 2012 Act recognises stalking as harassment that may include persistent and repeated contact or attempts to contact a victim. It provides a list of examples;
- contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means
- publishing any statement or other material relating or purporting to relate to a person, or purporting to originate from a person
- monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication
- loitering in any place (whether public or private)
- interfering with a person property
- watching or spying on a person
Now unfortunately many social media platforms we use on a daily basis, doesn’t have any strict rules in place for stalking. Neither do they take reporting of accounts seriously. After talking to a few people, who have had this problem with online stalking & harassment there are a few things that we can do.
Also you can be stalked without you knowing, if your profiles are set as public, there are many sites online where people can view your stuff for free. This includes your Instagram stories as well. It won’t show up, and there is no trace of it whatsoever.
In the ever-increasing world of social media, it should be our top priority to keep ourselves safe.
- Keep a diary, record every emails, message, tweet, story view, or tag. Also screenshot as well for evidence.
- Do not respond! Not even to tell them to back off etc. As this will hinder your chances of getting a charge brought against them. As soon as your reply, your willingly engaging in conversation with them.
- Tell friends and family, this is mainly to keep yourself safe!
- Report it to the police as soon as possible!
You can even talk to your GP if it is effecting your mental health. There is also many charities and online organisation that are around that can help you as well. You can also go to your local CAB and talk with them about getting a restrainging order against the person/s.
Now I know you might also be thinking about calling them out online, just so everyone knows who they are and what they have been doing to you and others. This is where the trouble starts, unless you have factual evidence, that this is really them and what they have been doing. You could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit. Yes i know this sounds rather silly, that in trying to protect yourself, you yourself could be sued. Don’t get me wrong, i have wanted to do this on many occasions. I have proof and lots of it! I have call records, texts, messages, emails and an album of over 200 screenshots. Yet the best thing we can do is follow the law.
Many of these stalkers, clearly have an obsession with you. It might be a new love interest, an ex partner. Or even your new partners ex! Who knows why they feel the need to do it and for so long! Mine has been going on ever since the start of our relationship, and hasn’t stopped.
Just to end if you every feel the need to talk to someone, send me an email and hopefully I can advise or direct you to someone who can.