Facebook is getting tough with cyberbullies, who have made many children’s lives a living hell.
The Menlo Park, California-based social media kingpin will begin embedding public safety messages into Australian users’ news feeds in an attempt to get a leg up on cyberbullies. Anti-bullying educational videos will soon begin appearing on Aussie teens’ suggested posts, and similar videos will also be targeted to parents.
Facebook’s efforts dovetail with a $4 million Australian anti-bullying initiative called “Speak Up Against Cyberbullying.” According to reports in the Australian press, Facebook’s head of policy for Australia and New Zealand Mia Garlick said the social media giant has long taken a stand against cyberbullying.
“Facebook has a strong commitment to the safety and well-being of young Australians and has a long-standing relationship with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to promote online safety,” Garlick said.
This is not Facebook’s first foray into Australia’s anti-bullying efforts. In 2012, Facebook participated in a similar campaign called Project Rockit, which also featured leading Australian politicians.
And last year, psychologist Marc Brackett from Yale University worked with Facebook to develop what he called an “emotionally intelligent bullying prevention” system. To that end, young teens could report disagreeable posts by clicking on a query screen.
Australia has some of the world’s most stringent cyberbullying laws. These have been created in response to teens committing suicide as a result of being harassed on social media.