Online targeting and shaming

Online targeting and shaming is a phenomenon in which one or more persons or groups urge and incite a large number of people to attack one person in different ways, for example by sending hate messages by email or posting such on social media. 

Online targeting and shaming can take the form, for example of a direct or indirect threat, or of exposing details about someone’s private life and distorting the information. Although online targeting and shaming is often targeted at an individual person, it seeks to influence the activities or decision-making of the entire organisation.

The authorities aim to promote open and constructive public debate and to prevent online targeting and shaming that restricts public debate, action and freedom of expression. All employers, both in the public and private sectors, and in third-sector organisations, should take into account the threat of online targeting and shaming and draw up concrete guidelines for employees for addressing online targeting and shaming.

The aim of online targeting and shaming is to undermine the trust of the entire organisation

It is part of our open society that the actions of the authorities may be evaluated and criticised. To this end, systems that guarantee legal protection for people, such as the right of lodging a complaint, have also been established. Criticism of an authority's actions or a single case of a criticism of a public duty is not online targeting and shaming.

On the other hand, online targeting and shaming is a systematic harassment, the aim of which is to undermine trust in organisations or institutions that are important for the functioning of society. This is done by threatening or exerting pressure on an individual employee. Such activities do not belong to an open society.