A How to Guide for Staff on Dealing with Student Issues on Facebook

This guide is designed to help staff in schools deal effectively with common scenarios of bullying or harassment which students might report. You may also find it useful to look at the other Facebook resources on our Resource Hub

Facebook has a number of safety features which can help students deal with any issues on Facebook effectively, before they potentially escalate. In the section below we advise which safety features students should use for different scenarios they find themselves in. Before you move on to the scenarios it is important to understand the common Facebook terms below if you are not a regular Facebook user.

Common Facebook Terms

Timeline – This is a user’s profile page and shows a timeline of the content they share on their profile page and content that others post on their page.

Friend – A friend is someone who you are connected to on Facebook. In order to become friends with someone on Facebook, both parties need to accept each others requests.

News Feed – This is similar to a homepage, it is a constant stream of content from the user’s friends which may include photos, articles, status updates etc.

Status Update – This is where a user can share a status or picture with their Facebook Friends which describes what they are doing, or how they are feeling at that moment in time. This status will appear on other people’s New Feeds and other users can interact with this status.

Student scenarios

Harassment on Facebook

1. A student reports that someone has left a nasty post on their Timeline

  • Click on the user’s Timeline
  • Hover over the post/content they want to remove
  • Click on the downward arrow
  • If they have posted the content themselves they can delete it straight away by selecting the ‘delete’ option. If someone else has posted the content the user can select the option to hide it from their Timeline so people will not be able to see it if they click on that user. Alternatively they can select the option to report it to Facebook and then select the option to hide it from their Timeline.
  • Block: If you are removing a post from another user who is harassing you, you may also wish to block the user. To block a user select the downward arrow and following the reporting process until the option ‘Block User’ appears. Alternatively you can click on the user’s Timeline, click on the three dots on their cover photo and select ‘Block’

2. A student reports that someone is leaving nasty comments on their photos

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  • To delete a comment on the user’s photo, hover over the comment and click the cross above the comment, this will stop the comment appearing when someone views the photo.
  • The user may also wish to Block the individual who has left the comment. The user also has the option to select which groups of friends they wish to share their content with through Facebook’s Lists. Lists allow the user to organise their friends into groups and they can then decide which groups they share content with. To create a list go to the ‘Friends section’ on Facebook, click the ‘More’ option and then select ‘Create List’.

3. A student reports that they have been tagged in a photo which they feel uncomfortable with

If a student has been tagged in a picture that upsets them they have a number of options:

  • Select the photo they have been tagged in. Hover over the bottom of the photo until ‘Options’ appears. Select ‘Remove Tag’, this will stop the photo appearing on your Timeline, although it will appear on the other user’s Timeline. The user also has the option to message the user who tagged them in the photo to ask them to remove the photo.  Depending on the content of the photo, it can also be reported to Facebook.
  • To report the photo to Facebook click on the ‘Options’ tab and select ‘Report Photo’. Reporting is anonymous so the other user will not know who reported their photo.
  • To stop the user being tagged in picture they don’t like in the future, they can select the option to approve all photo tags before they appear on their timeline. To do this go to the user’s Timeline and click on the three dot menu and select ‘Timeline Settings’. The user can then enable the setting to approve all photo tags.

4. A student reports they have been added to a Facebook Group and are being harassed by the people in the group

  • The user will need to report this Group to Facebook to have it removed. To do this visit the Group. Select the three button and select the ‘Report’ option.
  • The user can also leave the group by clicking on the ‘Joined’ button and selecting the option to leave.


5. A student reports that someone is sending them nasty private messages on Facebook

If a student is receiving private messages on Facebook which make them feel uncomfortable they can:

1) Report the conversation to Facebook if it violates Facebook’s Community standards. To do this visit the Facebook Help Centre and fill out the ‘Report a Threatening Message Form’.

2) Block messages from the user: To do this click on the private message and select the settings icon then select ‘Block Messages’.

3) The user can also block the other user. This means that the other user will no longer be able to view their profile or contact them. The other user will not know they have been blocked unless they try to view their Timeline. To block the user, click on the user’s name to bring up their Timeline, click on the three dots on their cover photo and select the ‘Block’ option.

Fake and underage Facebook accounts

1. A student reports that someone has set up a fake profile of them

Fake profiles which impersonate others are not allowed on Facebook as all users are required to register with their real name. The user will need to report this account to Facebook to get it removed.To do this, visit the fake profile, select the three dots on the cover photo and select the ‘Report’ option. If you do not have a Facebook account you can still report a fake profile by visiting Facebook’s Help Centre and entering 'Report an Impostor Account' in the search bar.

2. A student is aged under 13 and has a Facebook account

Facebook does not allow users under the age of 13 to have a Facebook account. They also put additional safety measures in place for students aged 18 and under which is why it is important for users to state their real age. A staff member can report a student’s Facebook profile if they are under 13, even if that staff member does not have a Facebook profile.

  • To report an underage child on Facebook visit Facebook’s Safety Centre and fill out the form: ‘Report an Underage Child’.

Useful Resources

How to use Facebook's Safety tools and Resource Hub

Blocking and reporting explained

How to report students under 13 on Facebook

Why do you need to be 13 to use Facebook?

Helping to stop teens oversharing

Do you have to be on Facebook to report something?