Monday, 27 August 2012

The sinister side of Facebook

A few months ago, I set up a page for my bullying book, Bullying A Parent's Guide, on Facebook. I did this for two reasons - to help promote the book and two, to stimulate debate about bullying, a subject I feel very passionate about.

I was not prepared for what happened next.

The page started well, with people who had been bullied as I had (that's what inspired me to write a book I really felt would help those being bullied and their families) telling their stories. I thought, 'great, this is why I set up the page.'

Then someone who was a stranger to me, posted about their child being bullied and adults who could and should have helped not helping. Of course, I was sympathetic. I left the post up, as they'd named no names. If they had, it would have been deleted.

There's some creepy people on Facebook

Then all the craziness started.  Another person I didn't know posted and complained about me not deleting the first comment, saying it was aimed at them, which meant they'd named themselves. I ignored it. The person who wrote the first comment had named no names, as far as I was concerned it was a legitimate comment.

The complainer then sent me an aggressive message demanding I take down the comment. I politely told them the person who'd written the comment had named no names, that they'd done it themselves. They could delete their own comment, if they wished.

Then the personal and public slagging match between these two people began with the complainer doing most of it. ON MY PAGE In exasperation, I deleted the comments and blocked the two people. This was difficult to do as from what I could tell the complainer had four different aliases/made up names. At least. I'd block one then more bullying/aggressive messages/comments would turn up.

The last came yesterday, demanding that I block someone from the page (this person was a friend and one of the nicest people I know), despite the fact, they'd done nothing wrong. I deleted the message, as I will with any other nasty messages I get from them.

I've now been forced to ban people who are not friends from posting, because this person's aliases keep turning up, again with comments aimed at an individual who’s child was bullied.

What have I learnt from this whole episode?
Apart from the fact that there are some people in urgent need of psychiatric care on the Internet (I'm not mocking anyone) and that total strangers can have you dreading logging into Facebook, I've discovered that Facebook should really come up with a f**k off button, because there are some people who really do need to be told where to go. Sad, I think, but true.

Note - this is an abbreviated version of what's been going on, as it would take too long to go through it step by step, not to mention bore the pants of you:)

Tips for posting on Facebook
Don't post anything you wouldn't happily let anyone read. If you do, delete it as soon as you can. Don't leave it and bitch about it as though it's someone else's fault YOU posted it.
Don't harass a writer on FB or you may find your way into their next book. The last person who annoyed me, was eaten by his own dogs.

Maybe this is why I write revenge fiction like Hell to Pay and How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks, because in my books the creeps always get their comeuppance.
 Bullying A Parent's Guide is now out in Kindle in the USA and in the UK.




  1. Wow, that's an amazing story, Jen. I've never heard of that kind of thing happening although sadly the sockpuppets and whackos sound grimly familiar.

  2. Yikes! This seems to be happening a lot recently, it's like the chav world is finally slipping into the virtual world. They're all quite happy to break the rules and piss all over our fun and if we try and do anything about it, or break the rules in revenge, we get bombarded with idiocy and threats of violence. Gahhh!! The Internet was the one thing I had left!

  3. Thanks Sandra and Stephen. I had no idea when I started the page that i'd attract the family from the Hills have Eyes. If people think that's harsh they should try being virtually stalked by these crazy people.

  4. Although it's kind of ironic you should be bullied for writing a bullying book.

  5. I know Sandra, it is pretty weird. I'm now writing a murder book. Hope I don't get murdered:)

  6. I was about to make the same point as Sandra. It's very sad to find adults enagaed in bullying - people who should be old enough to know better.

    And can I just add for anyone reading this that Jennifer's book on bullying is brilliant and I hope this fiasco on Facebook does nothing to hide that fact.

  7. There are some real [insert expletive here] on Facebook... and the internet in general for that matter.

    I believe the polite name for them is trolls.

    There's always one who has to ruin things for everyone else.

  8. Thanks for saying that Rosalie. That's so nice of you.

    You're right about that Chippy:) In this case, I think because the main two people involved couldn't post in each other's timeline, they thought they'd use my page.

    After blocking and banning the two particularly nasty family members and one of them still being able to leave comments/send sinister messages, I've decided to delete the page. To be honest, I just can't handle the stress any more. Facebook have been useless and they don't seem to have anyone you can contact, just pages and pages of info about blocking and reporting people that don't work.


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