Healthy Mind

Social Media Abuse

It is an unfortunate aspect of social media that those in the public eye can be subject to abuse, and jockeys are no exception. Receiving abusive messages can be a distressing experience for those involved and we want to protect all our members from this.

There are steps you can take to help protect yourself from online abuse:

  • Twitter has a “Settings and Privacy” option to “Allow message requests from everyone”. Make sure this is turned off and you will no longer be able to receive unsolicited messages.
  • There is also an option to mute words from your timeline. Under “Content Preferences”, select “Muted” and you will see an option to mute words of your choice. This won’t stop the words being posted but it will stop any posts using these words from appearing in your timeline, and is a very helpful preventative step to take. You can add as many words as you wish and could include foul language or specific words such as “cheat”.
  • Facebook gives you the option to “Block Users” and/or “Block Messages”. You can find this under “Settings and Privacy”, “Settings” and then “Blocking”.
  • Instagram allows you to choose who you allow or block comments from. This can be found under “Settings”, “Privacy” and “Comments”. There are also filters to hide offensive comments and a manual filter which enables you to choose specific words to be hidden. You can also make your Instagram account private so that you have to accept followers who can view your content.
  • Consider the value of Social Media to you – it isn’t for everyone and there will always be positives and negatives to it. If you would rather not engage with it then delete the app from your phone and/or deactivate your account. Details on how to do this can be found here.

Social media platforms are coming under increasing pressure to ensure that they protect their users from harmful content, which includes abusive messages. Most will provide their users with tools to protect themselves and report inappropriate content anonymously.

In the event you do receive abuse or unpleasant commentary on Social Media these are the options:

  • You can also contact Twitter and ask them to review whether comments go against their own policy. They can, and do, ban people who infringe their rules (although it’s impossible to stop them coming back under a false name).
  • Facebook allows you to report content that goes against their community standards, whilst also providing practical advice about how users can protect themselves from future communications from that sender:
  • Instagram allows you to report content that you don’t like under their “Privacy and Security Help” section. This includes comments, posts and accounts.
  • Emailing platforms (such as Gmail and Hotmail ) will also have a process for reporting abusive emails that come from senders using their services.
  • If you receive abuse that falls into the category of a hate crime – this means abuse of people because of their ethnicity, religion, disability or gender – you can and should report the matter to the police. Likewise, if you receive threats of violence this should also be reported. These should be reported to your local constabulary, details of which can be found at
  • You can ignore it and focus on your reasons for being on social media in the first place. Retweeting the abusive comment can also be an effective tactic for making the original poster look the fool, although may invite unwanted further engagement.

If you do find yourself on the receiving end of abusive or upsetting messages then you should contact the PJA or:

If you, or anyone you know has been affected by such messages, please make use of the below support that is available:

  • PJA Team – Tel: 01635 778108 or individual mobile numbers, or Email:
  • Sporting Chance: 24 hour support line 07780 008877

For more information visit the PJA website here.

Key resources