20 December 2017 09:38:02 IST

Facebook launches new tools to prevent harassment

These new features will help the network identify bogus accounts quickly and block them

Facebook has introduced new features that will prevent unwanted friend requests and messages from reaching you, a move the social media giant said will save a user, especially women, from harassment.

Facebook created the new features after working with New Delhi-based non-profit organisation working for women empowerment, the Centre for Social Research and the US-based social change organisation, the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

These new features will help the network identify bogus accounts quickly and block them every day.

“A apart from it, the latest tool also lets a user tap on an unwanted message and ignore the conversation. The social network will automatically disable notifications about that message and move it to your filtered messages folder. From there, you can read the message without the sender knowing that you have read it,” Facebook said in a statement.

As of now, this new feature would only be available for a one-on-one conversation, but Facebook said that the feature would be available for group messages soon.

Earlier this month, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had written about the role power plays, her personal experiences with harassment and what companies should do.

“No one should ever experience harassment, either in person or online,” she wrote in a post about the new tools released yesterday.

“Everyone deserves to be protected,” Sandberg said, adding we will keep doing what we can to make sure people feel safe on Facebook.

The social media network uses IP addresses and other signals to identify a fake account.

But, it also said that unfortunately, not all fake accounts can be blocked and might not get caught using these features.

Earlier, Facebook had provided tools that can help one deal with harassment and bullying, like a user can unfriend or block the person to prevent him/her from adding you as a friend, so that person cannot view the things that one shares on their Facebook timeline.

“If bullying and harassment are severe, you can report the person to the social network,” it said.

The company also advised not to retaliate because bullies want the victim to react. “Thus, you must not give them one.

It is also recommended that you reach out to someone that you trust, which may a family member or a close friend, a counsellor or a teacher.

“You must reach out to someone who can help you. Then, ensure that you have documented everything and saved it. In that way, you have proof that such person is harassing or bullying you,” it said.