New Zealand Makes Trolling Punishable by up to 3 Years in Prison

New Zealand’s Parliament has decided that sending messages or posting offensive, obscene, indecent, menacing or knowingly false content online will be punished by up to 3 years in prison.

The Harmful Digital Communications Bill will take effect Monday, introducing measures meant to address damaging online communications, provide remedies and hold perpetrators to account.


Facebook, Google and others have their own policies regarding trolling — if something harmful is posted online, users can request that it be taken down. Some companies act immediately to remove the communication, then decide whether it was the right course of action, the document states.

Regulators plan to found a national agency that will receive complaints and, where appropriate, investigate them. The agency will be able to respond very quickly by law.

The bill also creates an offence of incitement to commit suicide, even when a person does not attempt to take his or her own life, punishable by up to 3 years’ imprisonment.

Some politicians in the Labour Party say the law limits freedom of speech and targets too many internet users.

Last week, the UK government launched the “Stop Online Abuse” website to fight cyberbullying by helping victims of online abuse to report, complain and campaign against offensive media content, as informed.

Here is a short guide to help you fight cyberbullying:

Keep your privacy settings updated, and ensure you know how to untag yourself from pictures and comments, use the ‘block’ features, and report what’s happening to the host or server.

To remove your tag from a photo or post:

Hover over the story, click the arrow and select Report/Remove Tag from the dropdown menu. You can then choose to remove the tag or ask the person who posted it to take it down.

You can also remove tags from multiple photos at once:

  1. Go to your activity log
  2. Click Photos in the left column
  3. Select the photos you’d like to remove a tag from
  4. Click Report/Remove Tags at the top of the page
  5. Click Untag Photos to confirm

Removed tags will no longer appear on the post or photo, but the post or photo is still visible to the audience it’s shared with. People may be able to view the post or photo in places like the News Feed or search results. To fully remove it from Facebook, ask the person who posted it to take it down.

To block someone:

  1. Click the “lock” icon at the top right of any Facebook page.
  2. Click How do I stop someone from bothering me?
  3. Enter the name or email address of the person you want to block and click Block.
  4. If you entered a name, select the specific person you want to block from the list that appears.

People are not notified when you block them.

If you can’t find someone using this method, try going to the person’s profile and selecting Block from the   menu on their cover photo.

If you still can’t find the person you want to block, it’s possible that this person no longer uses Facebook or has restricted their privacy settings. You can always control the audience of stuff you share.

On Twitter

To remove your name or username from photo(s) you’re tagged in, tap into the detail view of the Tweet, then tap the ellipsis (•••) and select Remove tag from photo.

You can also stop an account from tagging you by blocking the user. Once you have blocked the user, your tagged name or username will no longer be shown on the photo.

You can change who can tag you in a photo by visiting your Security and privacy settings tab on or via Settings in the Twitter for iOS or Twitter for Android apps.

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