One in ten people with a visible difference are repeatedly harassed online

Welcoming the news that Ofcom will have more powers over UK social media

Changing Faces welcomes the news that Ofcom will have an expanded role to help prevent online harm, with responsibility for ensuring social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook comply with a new legal ‘duty of care’ protecting users from illegal material.

One in five people across the UK self-identify as having a visible difference and it is vital that they should be safe online.

Over 40% of people with a visible difference have had negative experiences online and one in ten say they are repeatedly harassed on social media

Social media is a hugely valuable tool for connecting and providing peer support amongst people with a visible difference, who can be particularly vulnerable to social isolation, anxiety and exclusion. But it can also be a very difficult environment, where they can face a daily grind of exclusion, harassment and abuse.

Independent research for Changing Faces has recently found that over 40% of people with a visible difference have had negative experiences online and one in ten say they are repeatedly harassed on social media.

Changing Faces’ Chief Executive, Becky Hewitt says: “Changing Faces has been calling for urgent action so that people with visible differences have a better online experience and to ensure that any abuse is dealt with quickly and effectively.

“We welcome the news that Ofcom will have an expanded role to help protect internet users. Changing Faces will continue to work with Ofcom and social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, to help rebuild the trust of people with a visible difference on social media, and empower more people to recognise and report abuse.”

For further information, our Visible Hate campaign explains how to recognise and report hate crime, abuse and harassment both online and in person. We also have information about staying safe online and offer confidential practical, emotional and psychological support to people with a visible difference.

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