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It’s likely that if you’re fat and reading this you already know how rough online hate is and how non existent most brand’s comment moderation is. I share this because I think it’s important to show what we’re up against when it comes to online hatred. Major trigger warning for the content that follows this.
Above are just a few comments that were left on my social media. Without provocation, I receive many of these kinds of hateful messages and outright threats every day. It’s painful, but not abnormal. They range from fairly harmless and just fetishizing, to threats that I’ve had to contact authorities about.
We can imagine a million reasons that people choose to spend their time this way, but the reality is that it doesn’t matter their reasoning. This type of interaction with another human being is unacceptable. And none of us should have to put up with it. Comment Moderation has to start being expected out of brands and companies that have the resources to handle it.
What To Do When People Are Hateful Online
My first rule of thumb is to always remember that this is only one person. Often times, if I see too many hateful comments it can start to feel like the entire world is against me. As if everything I believe about humanity is wrong, and it turns out people are just evil and awful. Some days, I think that’s true. I try really hard to remind myself that the spaces I create online are not those spaces. They are not ones who attract the terrible awful people in the world. They are good spaces where there is a lot of love, and letting myself focus on the negativity is a disservice to the beautiful community I have built.
Your number one priority should always be your safety. There is never a reason to engage with someone who you feel can bring real harm to you (emotional or physical). It’s very easy for some people to say that all opinions need to be heard – but in fat spaces those opinions can have oppressive effects that further marginalize us. Block freely.
For People Who’s Careers are Online
If you’ve followed my Youtube channel, you probably know by now that I’ve taken a little hiatus. Youtube is my biggest battle in the fight against online trolls and hatefulness. The platform isn’t well monitored and the blocking features are lackluster at best.
If you’re lucky you maybe have an intern or Virtual Assistant that can help you combat cyberbullying on social media. Let me tell you from experience, subjecting young interns to moderating hateful comments section is a miserable place to be in. Nobody wants that job, and being able to focus your employees creative energy on more important tasks is much more ideal.
This week, The Mod by Respondology reached out to me to ask if they could help me get a handle on my comment moderation – if you are on Youtube or have a business Facebook or Instagram following they could be your new best friend too.
The Mod takes about 5 minutes to set up. You login to your social accounts and then get to set key phrases that will automatically be hidden. But The Mod doesn’t stop there! They have a second line of defense in human form. Yes! That’s right, they have actual humans that get to know your social media and can help decide if certain comments are harmful!
One of my favorite things about The Mod is that it doesn’t delete comments or effect your engagement. Instead, they “hide” the comment from everyone except the commenter that left the hateful message. By not letting the hatred gain traction, we’re discouraging the commenter from spending energy leaving more messages or getting super involved in our comments section. It’s an excellent way to diffuse the situation instead of drawing more attention and hatred your way.
How Brands Can Help Change Online Culture
Several weeks ago, a well known Big & Tall brand shared my partner’s photo on their social media. The photo immediately got a lot of hateful comments calling out my partner J for being both too fat, and too gender ambiguous. Instead of facing the comments section head on, the brand allowed the comments to go unchecked. It left J feeling unsafe and not great about the brand or the interaction.
Tools like The Mod can help companies regain control and create a community of loving, kind comments around their brands. It’s so important for companies to let consumers know what their companies values are and how they plan on implementing those via their social media. As consumers, we have to insist that brands monitor their social media pages. Companies have to decide if they care more about their bottom line than they do about their consumer’s safety. It’s not a hard decision to make – I promise you loyalty and safety win every time and that means comment moderation needs to be a priority.
Will you tell your favorite brands to stop letting hatred go unchecked? Have you struggled with online hate? How did you deal with it? If you have a business profile on Facebook or Instagram, do you think a tool like this would be useful?
You can try The Mod by Respondology for free for two weeks! Use code CE10 at checkout to upgrade your service!
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Fat Girl Flow isn't about ONE person, it's about a community of kick ass people coming together to support, encourage, and love one another. What started as my personal journey to self love, quickly turned into something I never expected - life long friendships, understanding, and personal growth. We're all in this together <3