Facebook's Network of Support

October 19, 2010 at 6:24pm

Facebook is committed to fostering a safe and trusted environment that gives people the freedom to express their opinions and viewpoints. But sometimes, just like in the offline world, people can say offensive or even hateful things online. Hateful comments violate Facebook’s policies, and if they are ever posted, people on Facebook are quick to report them and we are quick to respond.


But it’s not just about removing bad content, it’s also about preventing it. We believe that educating people about the lasting and damaging impact of hateful remarks is a shared responsibility and that’s why we routinely call upon top Internet safety experts – like members of our Safety Advisory Board - for advice and resources for our Safety Center and our Safety Page. These resources include tips to help parents and teens prevent and address cyberbullying if it ever occurs on Facebook.


In light of recent tragedies involving youth who have taken their own lives as a result of anti-LGBT bullying, we felt it necessary to form a “Network of Support” to help us effectively address issues faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. 


As part of this endeavor, we’re teaming up with MTV's A Thin Line campaign; the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); the Trevor Project; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).


We look forward to working with these organizations on an educational initiative to provide better resources for LGBT teens and everyone who wants to keep the Internet a safe place. To start, here are six things to remember on Facebook:


Block bullies. When you use the “Block” feature on Facebook, any ties you currently have with the person you’ve blocked will be broken and they won’t be able to see your profile or contact you. You can block people by clicking on the Account link and then selecting Privacy settings where you’ll see Block Lists at the  bottom,  or by clicking the ‘Block’ link at the bottom of any profile.


Report harassment. Facebook has report links throughout the site, on virtually every page, and all reports are anonymous. We rely on everyone who uses Facebook to be an extra set of eyes and ears and to report content that may violate our policies.


Stick up for others. Don’t let anyone you know be victimized by ignorance. Reach out and offer a word of support, and remember to report the bully to Facebook.


Think twice before posting. It’s also important to be aware of how your own behavior can harm others, even unintentionally. Before you post a comment or a photo that you think is funny, ask yourself it could embarrass or hurt someone. If in doubt, don’t post it.


Get help if you feel overwhelmed. Facebook has relationships with organizations that can help if you or someone you know is in danger of self-harm. Also check out signs to watch out for at the Trevor Project site.


Know you’re never alone. The Network of Support is comprised of people and organizations that understand the unique challenges that LGBT teens face and have tons of ideas, resources, and stories of hope for you to tap into. Read about each organization below and check out their websites for more information.


The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively.


The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.


Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.


MTV's A Thin Line Campaign empowers young people nationwide to draw their own line between digital use and digital abuse – including cyberbullying, sexting and all types of digital harassment.


Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends.


The Trevor Project  is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866.488.7386) to speak with one of our trained counselors. It's toll-free and available 24/7. For more information, visit www.thetrevorproject.org.