It is important to have a crisis plan prepared in situations of cyber hate. This means that you can quickly manage the situation in a collected and effective manner. This is especially important if there are many people sharing responsibility of monitoring your social media.
If a situation arises internally, for example between two parties, it is even more important to react along a previously established set of rules. This will allow the reaction to be transparent, and everyone involved can have access to the document and follow how you are working.
This way, you can depend on the document when taking certain actions to deal with the situation, and ensure that you are reacting to the situation impartially.
Checklist for crisis plan on the internet
Division of labor and responsibility
- Have an active and functioning moderation group for all of your organization’s cyber rooms. Make sure that they have the necessary resources.
- Appoint a crisis group. The crisis group should be available for serious incidents like threats, harassment, or discrimination. This even applies to that which happens online—it is important that the crisis group knows this and applies this to their work. The crisis group’s assignment is partially to decide how the current incident should be dealt with and followed up, and partly how the organization’s activities should proceed. The crisis group has the responsibility to inform any staff, and if necessary, the affected person’s relatives. The crisis group also has the responsibility of contacting the police. In case of emergency, the person who discovered this should contact the police and only after that contact the crisis group or other staff.
- Appoint a person with primary responsibility, for example a chairman or manager. This person should also be a part of the crisis group.
What to do if someone is threatened
- In case someone at the organization has been threatened, the crisis group should be contacted immediately. The crisis group has the responsibility of developing an action plan in dialogue with the affected person, and when appropriate, the entire group that the affected person socializes with or works with at the organization.
- The person responsible (for example, the person with primary responsibility, management group and/or crisis group) has the responsibility for ensuring that everyone who is affected gets the opportunity to speak about what has happened after a serious incident. No one should be left alone to process the experience. Everyone who has been involved in the incident can be an extra support and help each other based on their shared experiences. When needed, external help can be needed to perform a debriefing.
If you receive information that someone who is connected to your organization has committed an external offense
- Make sure you have a clearly written zero-tolerance policy that you can refer to. An example of such a policy can be: “In our organisation, we have zero tolerance for cyber hate. We always take information about offenses/violations seriously, and we trust that the information given to us is true until the opposite is proven.”
- In case of information about abuse/offenses, it is important to answer the following questions:
- Is the person aware that they committed a crime/this offense?
- Have they been informed about it from the person/people who have been subjected, or from someone else? (This is important from the perspective of using the argument to end collaboration or exclude the person because they should have come forward with this when they received the information.)
- Can we inform the person who has allegedly committed the offense that we have received the information?
- Have a formal report been filed?
- How does the affected person want to move forward?
- The person with primary responsibility within the organisation (for example the management group, crisis group, board, or HR-team) should decide how to handle the person in question within the organization. Maybe the person should be put on pause or be moved to another location until an investigation has been carried out, for example.
If you receive information of offenses from people within your organization, internally
- Do not act alone, get help from others.
- Inform the moderating group, crisis group, or management group. They can then decide how to deal with the situation. For example, they can review the digital evidence, consult the code of conduct and policies, and discuss with the parties involved about how they want to move forward with the situation. If the situation should be reported to the police, the moderating group, crisis group, and management group should offer help and support this. Routines on how the organization handles reports against an individual within the organization should be in place.
- Sometimes, it can be a person in the moderation group, crisis group, or management group who has cyber hated. In such a case, you should contact those responsible for the group that the person is not a part of. For example, if someone from the management group has behaved badly, contact the person responsible of the moderating group or the crisis group. If the same person is in all three of these groups, contact people who you trust from each of the three groups. The most important thing is that you are not silenced and that you are taken seriously.
Sometimes, all of the responsible people can behave badly because they do not want to believe or hear that someone within the organization has done something wrong, or that they support people in positions power. In these cases, you can support the Swedish Work Environment Authority, one of the anti-discrimination agencies or the Discrimination Ombudsman for guidance.
- People react really different and have different needs after a crisis situation, but there are some common factors that are important to pay attention to:
- Forgiveness and acceptance of what the victim feels, and respect for this.
- Time to process and recover.
- Involvement from others.
- By allowing the victim to express their feelings and thoughts, you are helping them to process what has happened.
- Value the person’s own resources and help them to get help.
- NOTE: Everything above even applies to people who are under 18 years old