We all know cultural media is a powerful tool that has many professional and personal advantages. Which is why we use it. But when you do have control over if and exactly how you build your online presence, you typically lack control about what others say about you in online comments and on social media. The bigger your presence, the much more likely you are exposing yourself to feedback – both positive and negative.

Even if you haven’t built out your social-media presence, you run the risk of being subjected to one of social media’s dark sides: the non-public attack. When you’re attacked on cultural mass media, it can feel like the community has already made its mind up about you until you can verify your innocence.

In the past, traditional press filtered mass communications to particular audiences typically, limiting the likelihood of damage as well as its effects. Now, anyone is a publisher to unlimited, worldwide viewers, without nearly as many filters. This greatly increases the potential for harm. In this environment of instantaneous outbursts of micro-messages, the damage is performed the moment something is published or tweeted online.

What is published online can also be reported and continue to live long following the original message has been deleted. Those attacked will have a larger need to minimize harm to their reputation and to do this quickly. The form of the damage can be too much more complicated. Or people can you need to be downright mean. For instance, the BBC recently reported that Caroline Criado-Perez endured “about 50 abusive tweets one hour for about 12 hours” during her successful campaign for Jane Austen’s face to appear on a newly-designed U.K. Social-media sites have typically taken a hands-off approach to personal attacks launched by one consumer against another.

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However, the recent barrage of Twitter episodes and risks designed to Criado-Perez may be changing Twitter’s build. In response to this attack, Twitter UK apologized and announced anti-abuse tools to make it easier for users to report abusive tweets. Twitter currently offers a form for reporting abusive users and details of the behavior. Facebook provides guidelines for confirming violations as well.

It suggests concealing the abusive item from your information feed, sending a message to the poster asking these take the item down, and unfriending or obstructing the individual. Besides reporting an offensive tweet to the website, or reporting someone to the police if the harm is severe enough, what can you do if someone says something significantly less than flattering about you or your organization?