By Greg Howard
Half a second. That’s not a long time – barely enough time to blink, much less think about a complex problem. But Facebook has decided that half a second is enough time to evaluate reports of cyberbullying and other forms of inappropriate content.
According to a recent article in The Atlantic, Facebook’s abuse reporting team flies through the thousands of inappropriate content reports it receives at breakneck speed. This news should give pause to every parent and school leader, because it means that even when kids tell the social sites they’re using that they are being abused, there’s a good chance that their report won’t be properly evaluated.
Not surprisingly, some reported content gets marked as appropriate, even when it clearly violates Facebook’s Terms of Service. For example, a Facebook group profiled in the article was marked as “appropriate” by two separate members of the Facebook’s abuse reporting team – despite being an obvious haven for harassment and bullying. Undoubtedly, the rapid pace that Facebook abuse reporting team members evaluate reported content played a role in this group staying alive for so long. (Thankfully, the group was eventually shut down.)
It’s hard to find data on the number of abuse reports that major social sites receive, but data from some studies suggests that the number is probably a large one.
For example, a 2012 Consumer Reports study estimated that “800,000 minors were harassed or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook.” Surely, some of those young people reported the abuse they were receiving to Facebook, and even a small percentage of that number would equate to thousands of students reporting abuse.
Considering the fact that so much cyberbullying is happening on popular social sites, students need an abuse reporting mechanism that works. That’s where the CyberBully Hotline comes in. The CyberBully Hotline is an anonymous bully reporting system students can use to anonymously correspond with school administrators in real time. The anonymous nature of the system helps students feel more comfortable about reporting problems; that way, students can get help, and you can stop or prevent problems before they spin out of control.
For more info on the CyberBully Hotline, visit www.cyberbullyhotline.com or call 1-800-420-1479, ext. 1.