Safety Measures Adopted by Social Media Sites

Initially, the different platforms did not take responsibility for single users’ online behaviors. However, the growing prevalence of cyberbullying in recent years has gained increased relevance, resulting in the implementation of several measures aimed at both children and parents. For instance, in 2013, Facebook launched a safety section on its site, providing information on policies, tools to increase profile protection, and relevant resources and contacts to access in the case of cyber abuse (see Facebook Safety page). Likewise, in 2015, Twitter activated a safety center for parents and teens with guidelines for a more secure navigation and utilization of the site. Furthermore, they founded the Twitter Trust and Safety Council that works in partnership with several institutions and organizations in order to direct users to the appropriate service in case of abuse (see Twitter Safety Partner). With regard to Instagram, which has been owned by Facebook since 2012, the platform presents the community guidelines and another section where parents can find more information about the accessibility and visibility of their children by other users. Moreover, an online form is available for reporting self-injury material, hate comments, abusive or inappropriate content, and profiles belonging to teens younger than 13 years old, which is the requirement to own a profile (see Instagram Privacy and Safety Center page). The same subscription criteria are applied to YouTube, although videos posted by other users are accessible even without owning a profile. Because of this, it is possible for parents to set restrictions in order to avoid potentially dangerous or improper material. In addition, together with the site policies, informative material about harmful behaviors such as self-injury, suicide, harassment, and cyberbullying is provided (see YouTube Community Guidelines). So far, statistics about the efficacy of these safety measures have not being available. Generally, targeted services for prevention have been made known on the most popular online platforms by providing users with links to websites, hotlines, and information about how to detect warning signs of suicide. Web communities focused on suicide prevention have been founded, giving their members the opportunity to share their own direct or indirect experience in an anonymous way and to support each other, without the constraints of physical boundaries (99).

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