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NHS warns on social media trolls during terror attacks

From BBC - September 8, 2017

Guidelines to staff, terror attack victims and their families to warn them about the risks of using socal media have been issued by NHS England.

The guide cautions that internet trolls may subject victims to "vile and upsetting abuse", as was seen after the Manchester and London terror attacks.

It also warns people to be wary of journalists, who monitor social media.

But it adds that social media can also play a positive role in helping victims and families after attacks.

For example, it points out that coverage can help people by appealing for help, getting questions answered or paying tribute to those who have been killed.

However, it warns, people may say more than they intend to when "vulnerable, upset or angry" and that the process of retelling a story can make people "relive the worst parts" of horrific events.

"Journalists' questions can seem very intrusive, and sometimes blunt," the guide explains, while warning that their tweets can be "seductive".

'Inappropriate'

Dan Hett, who lost his brother Martyn in the Manchester attack, said he was inundated by media attention.

"I had a couple of bad run-ins with people physically turning up at my house, my parents house and my place of work," he told the BBC.

"It was incredibly inappropriate. We'd not even confirmed he'd died at this point, so everything was incredibly raw."

It issues specific advice to younger people, cautioning: "People will use your information for their own ends and when you are in the heat of the moment you may say more than you intend or later regret."

Patient confidentiality

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