Dealing with hateful messages online

Social media can be a fun and engaging tool with a wide variety of personal and professional applications. However, the virtual world can also be dangerous and those who interact with it may come to be targeted by hateful, racist, misogynistic or xenophobic comments.

Online abuse can be just as harmful as any other kind. The GMC has produced guidance on dealing with critical messages online, which can be found here. Below are some simple steps to follow if you see, or are targeted by, hateful or abusive messages on social media:


  • Don’t engage or reply
  • Take screenshots of messages – these could be used as evidence in case the posts are later deleted
  • Report the behaviour. All social media platforms have reporting tools for these kinds of messages
  • Block the person. Stop whoever is sharing or writing abusive messages from making contact with you
  • Talk to someone – this could be a friend or colleague, your employer, or a professional organisation you belong to
  • If the messages are personally abusive, or if you feel threatened, contact the police immediately

If you’d like to learn more about the safe use of social media, you may want to consider signing up for this free GMC webinar on the professional use of social media in SEM, taking place on Jan 25, 2023.