ITV to tackle online trolling with new initiative for show participants


ITV has today launched a new Social Media Awareness Hub, designed to help all participants on ITV-produced or commissioned shows deal with trolling online.

The Hub is part of an ongoing commitment to duty of care for participants of its shows.

Tackling trolling 

Developed by ITV’s Duty of Care specialists and ITV Studios Director of Unscripted Production, Helen Killeen, and built by online training specialists Acteon, the hub provides practical advice on how to navigate unwanted attention from social media, if it happens following their appearance.

The advice includes how to handle hurtful comments, manage online privacy and where to get further support.

The launch of the hub is in addition to the existing support offered to show participants which include measures to ensure they are fully supported before, during and after the filming period.

For example, in Series 9 of Love Island participants were asked to pause handles and accounts on their social media platforms for the duration of their time on the show, with accounts remaining dormant while they were in the villa.

Online trolling is an increasingly common issue. New research commissioned by ITV shows that almost one-third of UK adults aged 16+ have received some form of negative comments online, with this increasing significantly for 16-34s.

Posting negative comments online has become so normalised that over half (51%) of adults aged 16+ say that if people “don’t want to receive negative comments, they shouldn’t post on social media.”

The training materials are part of a wider initiative by ITV to tackle online abuse, with a new behaviour change campaign, “Would you say it?”, launching today.

The advertising campaign, developed by ITV Creative in partnership with The Cybersmile Foundation, a nonprofit specialising in tackling all forms of bullying and abuse online, aims to get audiences who don’t necessarily see themselves as causing harm to stop posting hurtful comments online by understanding the real-world impact of their comments.

Susie Braun, Director of Social Purpose at ITV, said: “So much of our lives are now spent online so it’s important to think about our mental wellbeing there too.

“Trolling dressed up as “banter” is having a real impact on lives beyond the screen, which is why ITV is proud to partner with Cybersmile to do our bit in making a difference.”

ITV will also be airing a documentary in the summer, hosted by ex-Love Islander Olivia Attwood, as she goes on a quest to find out how bad online abuse really is and what needs to be done to stop it.