Stalking: harassment through social media

Stalking: harassment through social media

Social networks have become the perfect setting to carry out the crime of stalking,harassment through the Internet through any specific conduct: hiring services through the improper use of personal data, trying insistently and repeatedly to contact another person, or threatening their freedom ...

What is understood by crime of stalking?

First of all, we must clarify what is meant by the crime of stalking.

According to art. 172 ter of the Penal Code:

"one. Anyone who harasses a person by repeatedly and insistently carrying out, and without being legitimately authorized, any of the following behaviors and, thus, seriously disrupt the development of your daily life:

  • 1. Watch her, chase her or seek her physical closeness.
  • 2. Make or try to make contact with her through any means of communication, or through third parties.
  • 3. Through the misuse of your personal datas, purchase products or merchandise, or contract services, or have third parties contact her.
  • 4th Attack your freedom or your assets, or against the freedom or property of another person close to her.

If it is a particularly vulnerable person due to their age, illness or situation, the prison sentence of six months to two years will be imposed. "

There are many behaviors that make up the criminal offense. Among them we find, for example, the sending repeated messages through social networks. These behaviors are not considered threats or coercion, but are behaviors that, when carried out repeatedly, can seriously undermine the freedom and sense of security of the victim, seriously altering the development of their daily life. The Internet is another scenario that facilitates the criminal behavior of stalking.

We don't have to go far to see typical cases of this crime. In Italy, a young woman committed suicide after seeing how a video with sexual content in which she appeared was published massively on social networks, being harassed on social networks by a large number of Internet users.

In Spain we have witnessed similar situations, especially through the social network Twitter. It is enough for a person to publish an opinion that is not in agreement with the majority, for a large number of people to harass them, sending them thousands of tweets. And every so often, we see in the news news related to minors who are harassed by their classmates through social networks.

What responsibilities do these people have? And what happens when someone retweets a comment that harasses another person?

For this conduct to be framed within the crime of stalking, it is not enough that several people, in a random and isolated way, publish degrading comments against another person (depending on the severity, they could be directly included in the crime of threats). As indicated in art. 172b of the Penal Code, it is necessary that one or more people, individually considered, commit the conduct insistently and repeatedly.

What can the authorities do in these cases?

Like the crime against honor, we are not facing a public crime, and The complaint of the aggrieved person will be necessary to prosecute the crime of stalking(except if the offended is the spouse or a relative).

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Video: Stalking and Harassment in San Diego - Criminal Attorney David P Shapiro (January 2022).