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The past month for Gold Coast residents has been filled with horrific incidents of Domestic Violence, such as the death of Tara Brown and the shooting of a woman at a Helensvale McDonalds restaurant.
While much of Domestic Violence is reported in the news, there are numerous incidents of note that go unreported, such as online abuse, stalking, manipulation and intimidation. Many of these online attacks by partners and ex-partners are facilitated (unknowingly and without support) by Social Media Platforms Facebook and Twitter.
The sign-up process for both platforms requires a name, email and birth date. There is no verification of name or birth date, allowing any individual to operate accounts under various pseudonyms with stolen images and identities. If such a process wasn’t simple enough, in September 2014 LifeHacker.com.au published a guide titled “How To Use A Fake Name On Facebook Without Getting Flagged”.
Once connected to their victim, an individual can harvest personal information without identification. A tweet, Facebook post, image or a check-in could be used effectively to trace the location of their target, engaging in stalking and potentially violent behaviour.
Furthermore, individuals can engage in online abuse via Facebook/Twitter posts and messages, threatening and intimidating their targets without leaving their name to it.
The take-home message is to ensure that, as a Social Media user concerned about their safety, you are aware of potential clues left for unsavoury persons. Additionally, never accept connections from unknown or suspicious accounts. A useful tool in identifying a stolen identity is the Google “Search by Image” tool, which locates the original source of a photo.
If you are anyone you know if the victim of cyber abuse, stalking, manipulation or intimidation, advise them to contact the relevant law enforcement agency or seek legal advice.
If you or anyone you know would like to deactivate the infringing content, contact Internet Removals immediately.
Published by Internet Removals, Gold Coast. More information contact Internet Removals on 1300 039 196.