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How to deal with social media harassment?

social media harassment, CYBER HARASSMENT, CYBER TERRORISM

Social media harassment’s consequences are two-folded; where it not only puts someone in danger but also lands accuse in jail. Over and above, social media harassment cause defamation and a long run to make one’s self-clear. Many people ask about the consequences and how to be self-secure from such an act. Being an IT expert and cybercrime litigator, it’s my area of interest and for this reason, a major portion of this blog is designed primarily to give an answer to each question in the best possible way using simplest language for quick understanding.

Various Types of Social Media Harassment

Social media harassment includes creating a fake account impersonating someone else, keep sending messages regardless of your warning, posting indecent content under someone else’s name or even misuse of another’s data. If someone is under 18 and commit the crime he/she will definitely be liable for punishment. First of all, using Facebook under 18 should be restricted. And here in Pakistan, there are lots of people doing such things unknowingly that it as a crime.

How to refrain from social media harassment?

Now, I will discuss how to avoid social media harassment. First and easiest way is to block the profile, use privacy shield to secure your account, better to look profile thoroughly before accepting a request from an unknown person and even meet in person before making friendship. You should be really careful and be aware of your limits before talking to any stranger. Cybercrime law is a remedial measure for all those who are victims of this crime. If anyone of you is committing it intentionally or even unintentionally, you need to set it to stop immediately. It is a lesson for all of you and it should be of prime responsibility to educate the people around you.

Examples of Registered Cases

Here are many examples of registered cases under cybercrime law and some are stated in previous blogs as well, about faculty members of Punjab University Law Department and DIG of Gilgit-Baltistan for uploading obnoxious pictures of his ex-wife by creating a bogus Facebook profile.

I am going to share an experience with you all. Once, a female has contacted me and told that she wants to file a case against someone for harassing her. When I talked to her father, he said that we are not going to pursue the case, we do not want to indulge in court and just want to settle the matter by negotiation. Well, you need to use your right for your own sake and pursue the case further. Though FIA resources are limited and the judiciary system is outdated, but it is important to deter people from doing such things in the worst cases.

FAQs

There is a list of questions that many people have asked but only selected and main ones are included in this section.

What kind of activities fall under social media harassment?

Creating a bogus profile, hate speech (which is done mainly for the religious, cultural and political issues), cyberbullying and misrepresentation; all are the branches of social media harassment which is categorically a crime and is subject of up to 3 years imprisonment of the unbailable case.

If someone is harassing you by your given information in an organization, so can we take a legal action against the accused?
I must say that, if any person confesses that he has taken your information through an organization then at first you need to access to that organization as might be someone would involve in it. First and foremost, you should serve them a legal notice through your council using the legal process which specifies the illegal use of your data to harass you or contact you. Secondly, cybercrime will start right after receiving any further message when you give any warning.

If someone has created your fake Facebook profile from abroad and molest you, so is there any legal action to take against them or we can simply report the suspect on Facebook?
Subsequently, yes you can report it through a legal channel and FIA cybercrime cell will contact the Interpol to arrest the person, block that page and fine penalty to the suspect. It falls in hate speech and 7 years imprisonment applied for that.

What are the rules and regulations that we need to follow which are mentioned in cyber law?

Well, this is a very versatile question and we are not going in depth. At first, you should avoid creating any fake profile, using hate speech on religion, race or politics; stop doing harassment, bullying, hacktivism, spamming and terrorism.

What is considered harassing through text messages?

It is your co-responsibility to warn him doing such things and inform about the availability of cybercrime law. And if the person keeps on sending you further messages then you can report the case.
Why are mostly social media harassment cases unreported in Pakistan?
This is a widely asked question. There are many reasons behind this in which the most important one is; lack of education factor. Many people have told me about the circumstances they are facing and asked me what to do in such situations. I’ve educated them about all possibilities as many people do not even think it is a crime. I have prosecuted many cases in which most of the suspects said that “They were not doing it intentionally and they never thought it would be a crime”. Our judiciary system is outdated which is another factor of an increased number of unreported cases. In the majority of the cases, females have to face harassment and molesting, they usually do pursue but could not register the case and again educational hesitation is the main reason behind that.

How cyberbullying is different from personal bullying?

Personal bullying is done in person like physical harassment whereas cyberbullying involved information system to harass someone.

How to report against someone who is harassing me in a public group chat?

If someone is harassing you on a public group then, first of all, you must take all screenshots, copy the URL of group and profile of the accused one and save that as evidence for further investigation. Then as stated in previous blogs, draft a complaint, let your council or any legal expert check that and submit to the FIA station in your vicinity. For effective action try to submit your complaint in person rather than posting by mail. As I stated earlier; justice will not come to you, you need to go after that.

What responsibilities do social media sites have, to prevent social harassment and is there any law on reporting against social sites?

Yes, there are orders on Facebook to prevent such kind of cyberbullying acts. As it is uncertain for authority to know the authenticity of a profile and for this ambiguity, there is a report option for you. There is no law related to reporting against any social media site for which each site has given its specific criteria and method of reporting a profile. She further asked about harassment through emails so I would say yes, cybercrime definitely includes harassment through any information system.

social media harassment, CYBER HARASSMENT, CYBER TERRORISM

What kind of activities fall under social media harassment?

Creating a bogus profile, hate speech (which is done mainly for the religious, cultural and political issues), cyberbullying and misrepresentation all are the branches of social media harassment which is categorically a crime and is subject of up to 3 years imprisonment of the unbailable case.

If someone is harassing you by your given information in an organization, so can we take a legal action against the accused?
I must say that, if any person confesses that he has taken your information through an organization then at first you need to access to that organization as might be someone would involve in it. First and foremost, you should serve them a legal notice through your council using a legal process which specifies the illegal use of your data to harass you or contact you. Secondly, cybercrime will start right after receiving any further message when you give any warning.

If someone has created your fake Facebook profile from abroad and molest you, so is there any legal action to take against them or we can simply report the suspect on Facebook?
Subsequently, yes you can report it through a legal channel and FIA cybercrime cell will contact the Interpol to arrest the person, block that page and fine penalty to the suspect. It falls in hate speech and 7 years imprisonment applied for that.

What are the rules and regulations that we need to follow which are mentioned in cyber law?

Well, this is a very versatile question and we are not going in depth. At first, you should avoid creating any fake profile, using hate speech on religion, race or politics stop doing harassment, bullying, hacktivism, spamming and terrorism.

What is considered harassing through text messages?

It is your co-responsibility to warn him doing such things and inform about the availability of cybercrime law. And if the person keeps on sending you further messages then you can report the case.

Why are mostly social media harassment cases unreported in Pakistan?

This is a widely asked question. There are many reasons behind this in which the most important one is; lack of education factor. Many people have told me about the circumstances they are facing and asked me what to do in such situations. I’ve educated them about all possibilities as many people do not even think it is a crime. I have prosecuted many cases in which most of the suspects said that “They were not doing it intentionally and they never thought it would be a crime”. Our judiciary system is outdated which is another factor in the increased number of unreported cases. In the majority of the cases, females have to face harassment and molesting, they usually do pursue but could not register the case and again educational hesitation is the main reason behind that.

How cyberbullying is different from personal bullying?

Personal bullying is done in person like physical harassment whereas cyberbullying involved information system to harass someone.

How to report against someone who is harassing me in a public group chat?

If someone is harassing you on a public group then, first of all, you must take all screenshots, copy the URL of group and profile of the accused one and save that as evidence for further investigation. Then as stated in previous blogs, draft a complaint, let your council or any legal expert to check that and submit to the FIA station in your vicinity. For effective action try to submit your complaint in person rather than posting by mail. As I stated earlier; justice will not come to you, you need to go after that.

What responsibilities do social media sites have, to prevent social harassment and is there any law on reporting against social sites?

Yes, there are orders on Facebook to prevent such kind of cyberbullying acts. As it is uncertain for authority to know the authenticity of a profile and for this ambiguity, there is a report option for you. There is no law related to reporting against any social media site for which each site has given its specific criteria and method of reporting a profile. She further asked about harassment through emails so I would say yes, cybercrime definitely includes harassment through any information system.

Get in touch with us!

This article has disclosed all the important factors on social media harassments and how to protect from them. I have used simple language for maximum understanding among all strata and tried to cover all questions in the easiest way. If anyone of you has any question or ambiguity, then leave it in the comment box or contact us personally. I assure you all that your information will be kept confidential and we’ll be back with more satisfying answers. Till then, say no to cyberbullying.

About the author

Zeeshan Riaz

Mr. CH. Zeeshan Riaz is the founder of The CyberForm. Prior to starting the firm, he was working as IT Operations Director at a Multinational Company. He has been working in the IT sector Since 2010.

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