This could be a threat to harm someone, to “out” them for something or to blackmail them (e.g. you have to do what I say or I’ll share that picture). Threats may be used to make someone do something they don’t want to.

If you or someone you are helping is being threatened online:

Talk to an adult you trust. They can help you form a plan to stay safe.

If the threat involves something illegal – e.g. nude pictures of an under 18 year old this should be reported to the police. You can do this yourself or ask a trusted adult to help you. Remember, never take a screenshot or share a copy of a nude image of an under 18 year old yourself, as this is illegal.

If the threat doesn’t involve something illegal:

  1. Keep evidence (like a screenshot),
  2. Report it to the platform,
  3. Block the account.

If a threat puts you or someone else in danger e.g. if someone says they are going to attack or hurt somebody, report this as an emergency to the police on 110.

There are 2 types of threat:

1. Hypothetical.

This could be expressing disagreement by making non-serious threats which are highly unlikely to be carried out. These would not normally go against community standards on social networking sites unless there are other factors to be considered.

2. Credible.

When a threat poses real life danger, putting someone at immediate risk of harm e.g. a threat to life. These types of threats should always be reported as an emergency to the police. Other threats of this kind could be “outing” someone’s behaviour to blackmail them. They may be used to coerce someone into doing something they don’t want to e.g. sending an intimate image or another behaviour they may later regret.

Find out how to report threats to commonly used social networking sites below: