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10% of Facebook users have received anti-social messages: with 3% of these users closing their account because of abuse

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

March 20, 2013 | 2 min read

Research unveiled today by Global Market Insite (GMI) has found that 10 per cent of those who use Facebook have received insulting or abusive messages, either sent publically or privately.

The survey of 932 respondents found that the figure for those receiving anti-social messages on the social media platform increased to 25 per cent for 18-24 year olds, and 16 per cent for 25-34 year olds.

Of these, 62 per cent said that they knew the offender in ‘real life’, although 27 per cent said the perpetrator wasn't even on their Facebook friends list.

The figure was lower on Twitter, with only five per cent reporting threatening, insulting or abusive tweets.

GMI puts this down to the fact that half of all Twitter users say they have an account merely to follow others - meaning that the social connections and engagement that are a core component of Facebook are less important.

Ralph Risk, marketing director for Europe at GMI, said: "In the virtual world of social media people may feel it is easy and anonymous to send insulting or abusive messages to other users. Our research shows that most people on Facebook are currently able to tackle the problem themselves using the technology provided.

"The strength of social media has always been the opportunity to easily connect and interact with friends and groups, but to ensure its continued flexibility is not restricted by legislation, it is important that the ability to limit exposure to insulting and abusive messages is simple for users to control themselves.”

The research found that six per cent stopped using Facebook and three per cent closed their account after receiving negative messages.

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