Define Online Abuse

define online abuse.

To define online abuse, embraces a diversity of maneuvers and malevolent behaviors ranging from sharing embarrassing, harassment, or cruel content about a person to impersonation, doxing, stalking, and electronic surveillance to the non-consensual use of photography and fierce threats. The tenacity of harassment differs with every occurrence, but usually includes wanting to humiliate, scare, threaten, embarrass, silence, extort, or, in some instances, encourage mob attacks or malicious engagements.

Tactics and Maneuvers

Tactics and maneuvers are wide-ranging. They are harmful and significant and violate a particular platform’s guidelines and terms of service. Some, but sometimes heinous like Child Pornography, Extortion, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Harm, Libel, Privacy Infringements, Copyright Infringements, Data Theft, Defamation, , Sexual Harassment, Sexual, Surveillance, Stalking and True Threats.

Cross-platform harassment

When a harasser, or group of harassers, consciously damages or invades multiple online spaces for the purposes of harassing a target. Cross-platform harassment is very effective because users are currently unable to report this scope and context of the harassment when they contact platforms, each of which will only consider the harassment happening on their own sites.

Cyber-exploitation, or Revenge Porn





Electronically empowered financial abuse

False accusations of blasphemy


Gender-based Disgraces and Harassment

Google Bombing

Grooming and Predation

Hate Speech

Identity Theft and Online Impersonation

IRL Attacks

Mob Attacks/CyberMobs

Rape Videos

Retaliation Against Supporters of Victims

Sexual Objectification

Shock and Grief Trolling

Spying and Sexual Surveillance

Stalking and Stalking by Proxy

Sexting/Abusive Sexting





Unsolicited Pornography

Cross-platform harassment

Cyber-exploitation, “Revenge Porn”

The distribution of sexually graphic images. The abuser obtains images or videos in the development of a prior relationship or hacks them into the victim’s computer, social media accounts, or phone. Women make up more than 90 percent of reported victims. The unauthorized sharing of sexualized images is still not unlawful in the majority of US states.


Organized attempts at defamation take place when a person, or, sometimes, organized groups intentionally flood social media and review sites with negative and defamatory information.


It is direct harassment in which a target’s former name is exposed against their wishes for the purposes of harm. This technique is most commonly used to out members of the LGTB community who may have changed their birth names for any variety of reasons, like avoiding professional discrimination and physical danger.


DOS stands for “denial-of-service,” an attack that makes a website or network resource unavailable to its users.


It is illegal retrieving and publishing, often by hacking, of a person’s personal information, including, but not limited to, full names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, spouse and children names, financial details. “Dox” is a slang version of “documents” or .doc. Causing fear, stress, and panic is the objective of doxing, even when perpetrators think or say that their aim is “harmless.”

Electronically empowered financial abuse

The use of the internet and other forms of technology to exert financial pressure on a target, typically a woman involved in close partner abuse. This might include, for example, rejecting access to online accounts, manipulating credit information to create negative scores, and identity theft.

False allegations of blasphemy

Women face online threats worldwide, nonetheless, they run a unique risk in old-fashioned religious countries, where blasphemy is against the law and where honor killings are a serious threat. Accusing someone of blasphemy can become, itself, an act of violence.

Grooming and Predation

Online grooming is when a person uses social media to deliberately promote an emotional connection with a child in order to sexually abuse or exploit that child.

Hate speech

Still, hate speech has no uniform legal definition. This means that every social media platform has its own unique definition. As a standard, however, hate speech is language or imagery that disparages, insults, threatens, or targets and individual or groups of people on the basis of their identity – gender, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits. Hate speech usually has specific, discriminatory harms rooted in history and usually employs words, action, and the use of images meant to deliberately shame, annoy, scare, embarrass, humiliate, denigrate, or threaten another person. Most legal definitions of harassment take into consideration the intent of the harasser.


A flood of hurtful and unfriendly messages amounting to threats, insults, slurs, and expletives.

Gender-based disgraces and harassment

Gendered harassment, though, involves the use of words, abuses, profanity and, often, images to communicate enmity towards girls and women because they are women. Typically, harassers resort to words such as “bitch,” “slut,” “whore,” or “cunt” and include commentary on women’s physical presence.

Google bombing attack

The thoughtful optimization of malicious information and websites online so that when people search for a target they immediately see defamatory content.

Identity theft and online impersonation

Mr. Shahid Jamal Tubrazy defines identity theft, “crimes in which someone illegally obtains and uses another person’s personal data in the way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic advantage.” The law relates to any person or entity who impersonates another person on the Internet with the “intent to obtain a benefit or injure or defraud another.”

Real-life attacks

In Real Life Attacks designate incidents where online abuse either moves into the “real” world or is already part of an ongoing stalking or intimate partner violence interaction. Real-Life Attacks angling can also mean simply trying to instill fear by letting a target know that the abuser knows their address or place of employment.

Mob attacks

Aggressive mobs include hundreds, or thousands of people, methodically harassing a target. #Slanegirl, a hashtag that was used for the trending global public shaming of a teenage girl filmed performing fellatio, is one example. Attacks on public figures like Caroline Criado-Perez have been conducted by cybermobs.

Rape video contents

These images are sometimes used to occupy online spaces created for sharing them, cyber-cesspools whose sole purpose is to remove people of dignity by humiliating, and harassing them. In India, rape videos are part of what law enforcement has described as thriving “revenge porn.” They are used to blackmail, shame, and extort.

Retribution against supporters of victims

Online abusers will often threaten to or engage in harassing their target’s family members, friends, employers or community of supporters.

Sexual orientation

Harassers recurrently objectify their targets, including through the use of manipulated photographs and sexually explicit descriptions of their bodies. Girls’ and women’s photographs are often used without their consent and manipulated so that they appear in pornographic scenes or used in memes.

Shock and grief trolling

To aim at vulnerable people by using the names and images of lost ones to create memes, websites, fake Twitter accounts or Facebook pages. A famous feminist writer has described how harassers set up Twitter accounts using a stolen photograph of her recently deceased father. The name on the account was a play on his name and a reference to his death. “Embarrassed father of an idiot,” the bio read. It quoted his location as, “Dirt hole in Seattle”.

Spying and sexual surveillance

Commonly, it is thought that spying and surveillance in terms of governments spying on citizens, however, women are commonly illegally surveilled. This happens in their apartments; in changing rooms; department stores; supermarket bathrooms; on public stairways and subway platforms; in sports arenas and locker rooms; in police stations and in classrooms while they teach. The “Peeping Tom,” is particularly inadequate given the impact of the nature, scale and intensification of the Internet on the power of stolen images and recordings to be used in harmful ways.

Stalking and stalking by proxy

It is a now proven fact, that 80 percent of those stalked online are women and more than 90 percent of cyber-stalking defendants are male.


Sexting is the consensual electronic sharing of nude or sexual photographs. This is unlike, though, from the nonconsensual sharing of the same images. While sexting is often demonized as dangerous, the danger and violation is actually resident in the violation of privacy and consent that accompanies the sharing of images without the subject’s consent.


A form of gender-based bullying often targeting teenage girls. Slut-shaming, stalking, the use of nonconsensual photography, and sexual surveillance frequently intersect, strengthening impact on targets.


The term comes from “SWAT” (Special Weapons and Tactics), a branch of the US police that uses militarized techniques, equipment, and firearms to breach targeted sites. Harassers will report a serious threat or emergency, causing a law enforcement response that might include the use of weapons and the possibility of being killed or hurt.


Rape and death threats frequently coincide with sexist, racist commentary. While online threats may not pass current legal tests for what establishes a “true threat,” they do produce anxiety and alter the course of a person’s life.


Social media is used by traffickers to sell people whose photographs they share, without their consent, often counting photographs of their abuse of women as an example to others. Seventy-six percent of trafficked persons are girls and women and the Internet is now a major sales platform.

Unsolicited pornography

To send unsolicited pornography, violent rape porn gifs, or photographs in which a target’s photograph has been sexualized. For example, in 2003, the website for UNIFEM, the United Nation’s Development Fund for Women, was stolen online by a pornographer who populous the site with violent sexual imagery. It is not old, editors at Jezebel, an online magazine, reported that an individual or individuals were posting gifs of violent pornography in the comments and discussion section of stories daily. Writers at Jezebel, almost all women, were required to review comments sections daily. Women politicians, writers, athletes, celebrities, and more have their photographs electronically employed for the purposes of creating nonconsensual pornography and of humiliating them publicly.

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