How to deal with Abusive Fans
Being an online entertainer or influencer can be a rough career, even if it seems glamourous from the outside. Your income is dependant on constant work, and having to interact with a large fanbase is fraught with dangers of its own kind. When your fans become abusive or start harassing you, what should you do? This guide will teach you the correct steps to take when fans go too far.
Don’t Panic and Start Blocking.
The first you should do when a fan starts to abuse you is to block them immediately. Block the abusive fan on every social media platform that you can. In a lot of cases, this should be enough for them to get the message. Even if they continue to view your content or lurk on your social media platforms, they should refrain from contacting you. If you have public methods of contact, be sure to filter messages from any known addresses.
While this method will work for your garden-variety fans, there’s always the chance that your fan is more zealous than this. It’s relatively simple to make new accounts on most free platforms to get around being blocked. If your abusive fan does get around your block, you should escalate your response.
Collect Information and Start reporting
If your fan is stalking or harassing you even after blocking them, you should collect information about them. Screenshot the posts they make, and if they are making phone calls or leaving voice messages, you should record them. Bear in mind; you’re not collecting this information to share with your followers or throw shade at your harasser. This information is for a potential police report to authorities in the future if your abusive fans don’t stop.
NOTE: Do not share screenshots of private messages or phone calls with the public. Depending on where you live, you could be breaking the law.
While you’re collecting data, you should start reporting your abusive fans directly to social media sites. If you can, contact someone at the social media site and ask that the person in question should be IP-banned from the platform. This prevents your abusive fans from creating new accounts as easily. While it’s technically still possible with the use of a VPN, it’s a much stronger deterrent than just blocking their account.
Involving the authorities is the last resort. Going through the proceedings of creating a police report and potentially going to court can be a particularly drawn-out and harrowing experience. If your abusive fans won’t leave you alone, or if they start becoming threatening, then you need to start thinking about legal proceedings.
Collect all the information you’ve saved into a file or folder and contact your local authorities’ non-emergency phone number. If your abuser’s actions have been severe enough, you may want to consider requesting a restraining order that legally prevents them from contacting you. The threat of jail time is a great way to disincentivize contacting you, and in the worst cases of harassment, it may help protect others.
Final Notes on Abusive Fans
You should not hesitate to take a step back from the spotlight for a little while after dealing with abusive fans. It can be hard to do if you’re dependant on the income you get from entertaining, but if you can do it, a break can save your mental strain. At least, stop interacting with fans directly if you can avoid it.
If you have managers or handlers at any of your outlets, they can help you deal with your problem. Giving yourself some distance from proceedings is another essential step in preventing a physiological toll.
Featured image by Burdun Iliya from Shutterstock.com