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Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have a dark side. Here's how to anonymously report abuse – CNET

Report social media abuse before it spreads to others.

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Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok have the power to create connections among billions of people. But there's also a dark side rife with cyberbullying, hate speech or other abusive behavior that can have real-world consequences.

Young people who have been cyberbullied are twice as likely to commit self harm or attempt suicide, according to a 2018 study. One in three young people say they've been the target of cyberbullying, the study said.

Likewise, 73% of adults say they've witnessed online harassment and 40% reporting being the target themselves, according to the Pew Research Center, a situation that can cause depression, anxiety and insomnia. Online hate groups can use these social platforms to organize ways to bring violence and threats to people in the real world.

Here's how you can anonymously report harassment online.

Report cyberbullies and hate groups on Facebook and Instagram.

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Facebook photos, posts and Messenger

You can report a photo or post, a group or a message in Facebook Messenger. You can also alert Facebook if someone threatens you.

Reporting a photo or post

  • If you see an inappropriate photo or post that goes against Facebook's Community Standards, click or tap on Give feedback on this post.
  • Select from the list of options, like nudity, violence, harassment and more. Tap or click Send.
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Reporting a group

  • Select the group you want to report. Tap or click the More button.
  • Select Give Feedback or Report Group.
  • Choose from the list of options of what's wrong with the group. Tap or click Send.

Report users and groups on Facebook.

Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET

Reporting a message in Messenger app

  • If someone is harassing you in secret conversation in Messenger, tap on their name at the top.
  • Tap Block > Block on Messenger. You can also block them on Facebook from here.
  • Go back and tap Something's Wrong.
  • Select from the list of options, like harassment, suicide or self-injury, hate speech and more. Tap Send Feedback. The Facebook Help Team will receive the messages once you send your report.

Twitter accounts and tweets

You can report a tweet or an entire account.

Reporting a tweet

  • Tap or click the down-facing arrow icon on the Tweet.
  • Click or tap Report Tweet, then select It's abusive or harmful.
  • Choose from the options of why it's abusive or harmful. Some options include it's disrespectful or offensive, targeted harassment and directs hate at a group.
Angela Lang/CNET

Reporting someone's account

  • On the person's profile, click or tap the three stacked dots icon.
  • Tap or click Report and select Their Tweets are abusive or hateful or Their profile info and/or images include abusive or hateful content.
  • Select the reasons why the user is being abusive or hateful. Some options are engaging in targeted harassment, threatening violence, encouraging suicide.

You can also report a Twitter user. Learn more about when you should report a tweet or profile.

Instagram posts, profiles, comments and messages

If someone is cyberbullying you, let someone know.

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Posts, profiles, stories, comments and messages are all potential areas for online abuse.

Reporting a post, profile or story

  • On the post or profile, tap the three dots icon.
  • Tap Report then tap It's inappropriate and select a reason.

Reporting a comment

  • Tap the message bubble icon.
  • Swipe left over the inappropriate comment and tap the ! in the message bubble.
  • A message will appear asking why you're reporting the comment. Tap Abusive Content.
  • Select a reason why it's abusive. Some options are nudity, hate speech, violence and bullying.
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Reporting a message

  • On the home screen, tap on the arrow icon in the corner.
  • Open the conversation.
  • Tap and hold on the message you want to report. Select Report.

You can also send a report to Instagram.

TikTok accounts, chats, comments and videos

The video-focused social network especially appeals to young people.

Reporting an account or a chat

  • Go to the profile or conversation you want to report and tap the three dots icon.
  • Tap Report.
  • Tap Posting inappropriate content and select a reason like bullying or hate speech. Tap Submit.

TikTok is the latest social networking video sensation.

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Reporting a comment

  • Tap and hold on the comment you're reporting.
  • Tap Report and follow the same instructions as above.

Reporting a video

  • Tap on the arrow icon on the video page.
  • Tap Report and follow the same instructions as above.

Snapchat Snaps, stories and people

Nudity, hate speech and threats are some of your reporting options. 

Reporting a Snap or Story

  • On the Snap, tap the three dots icon.
  • Tap the white flag icon.
  • Select why you're reporting the Snap. Some options are nudity, hate speech and threatening. Then tap Submit.

Report users, Snaps and Snap stories on Snapchat.

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Reporting a user

  • Press and hold on the Snapchatter's name so that their profile comes up.
  • Tap the three stacked dots icon and select Report.
  • Select why you're reporting the user.

If you're the target of online hate, don't just block the messages. Instead, take action and let someone know what's going on. Call 911 if someone is threatening to harm you. If you're having suicidal thoughts due to the bullying, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or call 1-800-273-8255.

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