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Feminist Frequency Release a Guide for How to Cope With Online Harassment

If anyone can claim to be an authority on online abuse, Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian would surely be front runner. Throughout the course of the highly publicised and hideously misogynist Gamergate scandal, she and many of her contemporaries were subject to torrents of verbal abuse on social media, including threats of assault, rape and even murder. In Sarkeesian's case, she had to cancel events and actually stay at home under police protection on some occasions.

Most people, happily, will never have to experience abuse on the level that she did, but the more standard verbal abuse, as well as forms of account tampering and stalking are common and indiscriminate. As such, Feminist Frequency have released a guide for how to deal with online abuse, be it on social media, forums, via email or even on gaming platforms. It's far from the first of it's kind, but it is one of the more comprehensive guides that's readily available, covering issues like doxxing and offering both practical and psychological solutions.

The social media section is actually one of the most interesting areas of the guide. Often times victims of online abuse are simply advised to report it, but this often isn't enough, as even when offending accounts are blocked, simply building another account and going on the attack again is easy and effective. It advises you to deactivate any geolocation settings that might be switched on, significantly reducing the risk of anyone figuring out where you live, or tend to hang out. Further, it recommends a number of services which can help you monitor who is sharing information about you online, from blog posts to images and videos.

From there, the guide starts to get a lot more specific, examining each social media platform in turn. These sections are a bit more standard, and the guide does recommend a few other, more comprehensive guides on how to deal with each social media platform individually, but even the small amount of information offered for each platform is useful. Fan page management and external blocking apps are covered, and recommendations are made.

More interestingly, the guide looks into doxxing in a great deal of detail, something which is very difficult to deal with if you don't know what you're looking at. It lists a number of different sites and techniques you can use to remove your personal information from anywhere that it could be lifted from, as well as managing where it might appear again going forward. Finally, the 'Self Care' section warmly explains not how to directly cope with harassers, but how to think about the situation proactively, before going on to list a series of useful books, sites and TED talks.

The resounding message of the guide, as you might expect, is simply not to engage. It's a well known fact that the kind of people who engage in online abuse are largely doing it to draw attention back onto themselves and the more you grant them that, the more the situation will intensify. It might be tempting to try and calmly draw the other person into a reasonable debate, you might even think you'll win them around to your point of view, but trust me, that's so unlikely that you'd have a better chance of throwing a rock from your window and having it hit them in the eye. Don't feed the trolls.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Feminist Frequency Release a Guide for How to Cope With Online Harassment Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, December 14, 2015 Rating: 5

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