Social-media stalking on rise in Oz

By Anne Collier

The Daily Telegraph in Australia reports a rise over the past two years in requests for restraining orders against online stalkers by young Australians, “claiming they are victims of intimidation.” Restraining orders are called “AVOs,” for apprehended violence orders, in Australia, and an attorney there “said this sort of behaviour could happen through a combination of mediums such as Facebook or Twitter and phone texting,” the Daily Telegraph reports, adding that “victims were often intimidated through threats written on their sites or by text while others had their sites hacked and information stolen which was then used against them.” I guess I can see why the Telegraph calls this cyberbullying, but it’s probably more accurate to stick with “stalking,” though even that term is used both lightly (for getting to know someone before asking him or her out on a date) and, as in this story, seriously. And, to be fair, “cyberbullying” is being used very broadly now, for everything from mean gossip to defaming social rivals to criminal “sextortion” (extorting someone with sexting photos of them). The Times of India picked this story up here.

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