Social media

No one can bully me on social media: How BBNaija’s Leo Dasilva and celebrities are taking a stand against online trolls

Cyberbullying has deeply eroded the fabric of social media interactions. Unfortunately, celebrities and public figures are often the recipients of these harsh, mean words. But the tide is turning, many are regaining their power and refusing to be at the mercy of bullies.

Eniola Badmus from Nollywood shared a photo on her official Instagram page on Sunday, November 10, 2019, like every other random day. It was posted in the spirit of following its online community.

Hate incitement notifications from a web user’s laptop. Photo: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The selfie was taken in front of a full length mirror and you could almost say it was a “I feel good about myself” picture.

the Instagram post attracted thousands of likes from Eniola’s fans and colleagues, but it was also an opportunity for a platform user identified as Mundi Joseph Geoffrey to hit her with a mean comment.

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Geoffrey had written in Eniola’s comments section “see how shapeless you are like aged breada remark that garnered likes from others on the platform and even caught Eniola’s attention.

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To his surprise, Eniola managed to find the humor in his rude and unflattering comment and didn’t give him the chance for a naughty back-and-forth that would have propelled bloggers into clickbait headlines.

Geoffrey would eventually return with a comment in which he admitted his motive was to get the movie star’s attention.

“Wow, I thought you were going to answer me but you didn’t, you must be one hell of a celebrity and forgive me for my comments…I was just trying to get your attention.” I want you to know that you are beautifully made celestial. Lots of love, mama tuale.

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A watershed moment came for the actress on Dec. 9, 2020, when she literally had to beg the world to let her be. Her Instagram post is shared below:

Cyberbullying is described as the use of information and communication technologies to harass or abuse others.

Celebrities/public figures have found themselves on the receiving end due to their individual stance on inflammatory issues such as politics, governance, or even something as simple as their preference for a song or movie.

These trolls, as they are known, post repetitively offensive comments, create burner accounts to belittle their victims, and at other times weaponize an individual’s insecurities.

Unfortunately, in Eniola’s case, her weight was a constant topic of discussion. There has been speculation that her drastic physical transformation was driven by the harsh treatment she received from social media bullies over the years.

Take back your power

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“I personally don’t think anyone can bully me on social media or anywhere else,” former Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) roommate Leo Dasilva recounts Legitimate NGs Adeyinka Odutuyo.

These are not just words that have no weight for Dasilva. Leo caught wind of a nasty comment from an Instagram user in October 2018.

User, @Shehu7196, had made a seemingly concerned observation about Leo in relation to his friendship with fellow Double Wahala star Cynthia Nwadiora better known as Ceec.

By any means possible, the individual was held in check by Leo’s response.

“@Shehu7196 hello Cynthia doesn’t have to stop calling herself king or whatever she wants to make me feel like a man. I’m a full man who knows he’s a man They can call me whatever they want I know who I am I create opportunities for people like them I will continue to be a visionary and an icon Any man can call me whatever he wants no matter It doesn’t change me to be an ICON living with the grace of God,” he wrote.

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More than three years after that exchange, Dasilva maintains that there is a line to be drawn between disrespect and bullying.

“People have their opinions and some can be disrespectful about it. Disrespect is not bullying to me. They are just people showing their level of understanding and tolerance. The comments I face can be intimidating to others and I have dealt with them by not dealing with them.

The businessman also doesn’t care about bullies who quickly hide under the guise of offering candid advice on how to do better.

“Constructive criticism should come from people close to you who love and want the best for you like family. Most people online want to use your name to score points and get attention. It never really comes from a place care most of the time.

Even though the likes of Daddy Freeze, Frank Edoho, Reno Omokri have been criticized for always paying heed to trolls and cheering, Dasilva agrees that choosing the path of silence is not always in the best interest of those who are victims of trolls. intimidation.

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“It’s best to address the things that should be addressed. There are things that need not be addressed, such as baseless accusations and a general lack of understanding.

JayOnAir takes the road of silence

With a combined following of 46,000 fans on Instagram and Twitter, sketch creator Joseph Onaolapo aka JayOnAir, says he started his career with a clear intention in mind.

“When I started in this business, I just thought ‘you know what, I’m not going to pay much attention to people who don’t want me well’. So it’s pretty easy. According to the way you write your comments about me, I can easily tell who likes me or not, and when I get constructive criticism, I make sure to respond.

JayOnAir, on the other hand, gets trolled even as an on-air personality and going down the road of silence has helped him deal with social media trolls the same way. “It’s so hard sometimes” emphasizes the humor merchant.

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“But to be honest, I figured I wouldn’t let people get to me. I work in radio and I’ve been trolled about my voice, my sound…I don’t respond to these people. So I said the same thing I do on the radio is the same thing I’m going to do on social media.”

You can’t run away

Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have introduced features like mute, block buttons, and an option to disable the comment section. Media mogul, Mo Abudu of Ebonylife is known to have publicly embraced one of these features, but it’s not without reason.

On January 1, 2022, a continued au Chief Daddy, released in 2021, was launched on the movie streaming platform, Netflix, to harsh criticism from Nigerians and Diaspora moviegoers.

What followed was a ruthless barrage of hate messages dumped in the comments section from actors who featured in the film, including Abudu who had praised the project’s pre-release.

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Abudu released a statement on his Instagram page which said in part:

“We appreciate your constructive feedback. This way my team and I can continuously improve so that we can deliver the high quality productions you expect from Ebonyife Studios. Please share your feedback with respect or we will have to restrict your access to our pages.

Two months and a few weeks later, Abudu’s comments section remains disabled.

Freelance social media manager Keem Tunde says that’s not the way to go, especially for public figures.

“Going private won’t solve the problem. Communication went beyond the one-way channel. To be relevant, at least, you need to be consistent in communication (engagement) with your fans. Disabling comments won’t help.

The community manager shares his approach whenever he spots comments from online trolls and bullies.

“As someone who manages social media for businesses, the first thing I do is identify why we are getting such comments. And a quick check on who is doing this. If the user has a fishing history at trolling, I don’t know. If it’s a case of miscommunication on our part, we try to fix it in the DM with the affected party.”

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Years are spent building reputations and it only takes one mistake to destroy them.” Timileyin Omilana, public relations strategist, tells this author during an exchange. “This process has never been faster or fiercer than it is now in the age of social media,” he adds.

How Celebrities Can Handle Bullies

Omilana agrees that dealing with online bullies is “a tricky business” but for him it is important that a celebrity or public figure “recognize that there is little you can do to combat such a facade.”

The PR executive also explained the best way forward for public figures who end up becoming what they fight for in the process of holding their ground.

“If you as a celebrity have caused the bully, it’s always good to set the record straight (be the most truthful and emphatic), followed by an apology if you’re actually at fault. Another thing What these celebrities can do that I think has helped many others is to keep a low profile or even abstain from social media for a while – after all, no brand wants to be connected to a bully.”

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In the good words of the late English actor and filmmaker, Charles Spencer Chaplin:

“My pain can be the reason for someone’s laughter. But my laughter should never be the reason for someone’s pain.”

People need to understand that regardless of their social status or position, it is another human who receives that mobile device or laptop.

You must first choose to be human in a world where you can be many things…