Responding to Online Attackers

There are many types of online attacks and it can be challenging for journalists and newsrooms to know when to respond. Journalists used to be advised not to interact with online harassers but this can create a feeling of being silenced, especially when targeted by smear campaigns. Newsrooms should set out clear guidance for journalists on how and when to respond.


Next Steps

Understanding attackers and their tactics

Having an understanding of who the attackers may be and what tactics they are using can help journalists and newsrooms decide whether to respond or not. 


Create policies for when and how to respond to online attacks

Unclear policies around social media use and how and when to respond to online attacks can cause problems for both journalists and newsrooms. Clear guidance is needed, especially for journalists who are targeted by smear campaigns. Advice on policy creation can be found below. 


Public statements of support

For journalists that are targeted by misinformation or smear campaigns, having an official statement of support from the newsroom that can be pinned at the top of their social media site can be helpful. Consult with the journalist about the statement of support and the content that could be included. 

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