Facebook & Zynga Blog

A No Holds Barred Approach.

Special Report : Social Games Policy On Cyber Bullying

For weeks now I have been talking about the issue of bullying on Facebook & within the social games.  Today I am going to give you the policies of what some of the social game companies have to say on it which unfortunately isn’t much.

I contacted some of the major social game companies to get statements on their policies on the issue of bullying. Well the response was disappointing to say the least. I am very upset some of them didn’t even bother to respond I mean even Facebook responded so I guess to some of them this is a non issue or perhaps they just don’t have a set policy on the issue, which is another thing I found.

Well let’s start with the responses I did recieve :

Pop Cap the makers of such games like Bejeweled Blitz had this to say through spokesman Garth Chaouteau, ” We at Pop Cap dont have cyber bullying issues around our social games ( Bejeweled Blitz & Zuma Blitz ) , So I am afraid we’re not able to provide much perspective for your story at hand,sorry.” 

Playfish the makers of such games like Restaurant City, Pet Society, Monopoly Millionaires & Madden Football had this to say through their spokesman Tom Sarris,  “Playfish views cyber bullying in a very serious manner. We foster and maintain a zero tolerance policy within the Playfish community for players who instigate personal attacks on other community members, and who post insulting, inflammatory or rude material aimed at groups or individuals. While debate and discussion is strongly encouraged, we believe everyone in our community has the right to participate in a respectful environment in which they feel safe, free from harassment or discrimination. We will continue to enforce this policy and take timely and appropriate action against those who do not respect it.” 

That is out of all the companies I contacted only 2 responded and only Playfish had a real policy in place, and it is a real good one too.

I waited almost 2 weeks for the other companies to respond and did try to contact them again but still no response. This is very disturbing as the victims of bullying seem to be getting no help from them at all even after they provided indisputable proof of the bullying & in some cases extortion attempts.

I do want to be fair here as just because the other companies didn’t respond to my requests on their bully policies doesnt mean they dont have one. Although if they did, you would think with all the publicity around the bullying issues around the world you would think they would like to let the world know what they have in place as it makes for good PR.

However I do know from talking with the social game giant Zynga that they do not have a real policy in place and they are looking to institute one soon that will be acceptable to the victims.

So what can a victim do right now if they are being bullied ? To be honest not a whole lot, it looks like all they can do is keep reporting it to both Facebook & the social game companies & make sure they give them as much proof that they can to fully document it.

I also suggest if you are being bullied &/or extorted contact your local police enforcement agency and if I was you contact your local TV stations & other media outlets to see if they can help force the social game companies & Facebook to deal with it quickly. While your at it why not contact your local political Representative as they love this stuff especially around election time because it means more votes to them. Remember, no one likes bad press.

I personally believe that Facebook & the social games need to work together. I think if you block someone from seeing your profile due to bullying issues then they should also be blocked from contact within the social games. This will help eliminate alot of issues and this really should be implemented ASAP. Unfortunately I don’t see this happening anytime soon unless you get the social game giant Zynga to step up and try to get it done with Facebook then the other will fall in place.

Why Zynga ? Well Zynga accounts for most of the real revenue that Facebook gets and Zynga also accounts for over 40% of the members on Facebook , so if the social game giant asks for this on behalf of the victims, I think Facebook might then have to act on it.

Bullying is not fun for the victims of it and can cause real emotional distress for many of the victims. I wish I had a magic wand to make it go away but I dont and unfortunately on Facebook we must wait for them to act. I am saddened see this happen to many good people I do know and the lack of support from Facebook & the social games has driven them away from all together. I can only hope for change.

If you want to help then I suggest we all start a campaign to let Facebook & these social games know how we feel. Bombard them with with your letters, petitions & support groups and let the world see how we are not going to take it anymore.

Here are just a couple of sites you can go to for assistance if you are being bullied.

  1. http://www.stopbullying.gov/
  2. http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/ This is one Facebook is a Co-Founder of.
  3. http://www.facebook.com/help/?safety The Facebook Safety Center

April 26, 2011 - Posted by | Blogs

6 Comments »

  1. Don’t think this is really a story about mutual bullying…think it’s a story of people taking this game waaaaaaaay to serious….Apr 16, 2013
    Awe Lizzy, What Have You Done?

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    This is a story about a girl named Awe Lizzy. “What kind of name is that?” you may ask. Awe Lizzy is not a real name and according to the Facebook TOS she should not exist. Oh but she does! One day Awe Lizzy decided to give a game called Mafia Wars a whirl. She didn’t like being attacked and everybody and anybody who clicked on that shiny red attack button from the fight list was labeled a bully. As the player base dwindled, Awe Lizzy soon found that she was being attacked by people from the same families and decided it was time to go on a major anti-bully reporting campaign. The problem was these said bullies were just playing the same game she was….Mafia Wars! Peace talks and demands of cease fires were irrelevant because Awe Lizzy swiftly banned any player who tried to explain the situation at hand. What happened next rocked the Mafia Wars community and now many fighters fear losing their Facebook accounts [1]. To demonstrate the lengths of harassment this player is resorting to, the Top 10 Awe Lizzy Weapons of Mass Destruction are listed below.

    Awe Lizzy’s Top 10 Weapons of Mass Destruction

    #10: State your cause and call on 1% of 20 million Mafia Wars players to combat bullies because sense seems to be an issue when it comes to bullies.

    Ensure that one of your minis always agrees with you.

    #9: After proclaiming that bullies aren’t going to tell you what to do, threaten your Facebook friends with removal if they do not do what you tell them to do. Throw in some educational diagrams about bullies for effect.

    #8: Ask said Facebook friends who remain after threats of removal to attack the players who attacked you. Encouraging others to sit on a player adds a nice touch to ones anti-bully crusade.

    #7: Toss some links and start a mass reporting campaign.

    #6: Suggest people rob players that they can’t beat.

    #5: Add those who attack you to the hitlist. Somebody should be able to beat them!

    #4a: Report those who attack you to Zynga. Once you realize the link doesn’t even work, claim you have never asked for help but encourage others to flood Zynga with complaints about those who attacked you.

    #4b: Go to Facebook and report those who attacked you for posting ices on their own family war page. Rejoice when you learn that those who attacked you were locked out of their accounts. For effect, ensure that a mini agrees with you.

    #3: Compare those who attack you to the 9/11 terrorists. Like and comment on your own post to ensure it stays near the top.

    #2: Use at least two of your alternate accounts and threaten to sue in a court of law when the community formulates a plan of action. Talk to each other in the same style so players won’t realize you are the same person.

    #1: Bring in Craig James!

    Feared more than Facebook is Craig James. This man will cause havoc on any account that Awe Lizzy has deemed a bully. This guy may be a bullies worse nightmare but he really needs to learn how to count. Last time we checked there weren’t even half a million people playing Mafia Wars. One of life’s little lessons is that if someone says “Trust Me”, it’s the last thing you should do. Prolonging the word trust with is definitely a red flag.

    I mean no harm to Awe Lizzy and the point of this post is to show what can happen when one feels they are bullied when all they were was attacked. If a player resorts to dirty tactics such as some of those pointed out here then they will be attacked for reasons other than the fight list. Many thanks to the ‡ßΘÿd‡ Family and Script|Mod Group for shining light on this subject and enduring harassment that could have been avoided had Awe Lizzy been more reasonable. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little worried that Craig James won’t see any humor in this and will get me. I can’t quit on my own so maybe I hope he can shut my account down for me.

    Comment by Laura | April 16, 2013 | Reply

  2. @I’ll Crack Your Ass
    When it happens to you you can make that judgement. Until then your shortsightedness remains your biggest hindrance.
    I know people far stronger than me quit the game they enjoy playing because they cannot stop the constant and unwanted interaction from some other narrow minded folks. People who think it is ok to ruin someone else’s game play. It is not ok. It has to stop.

    Comment by Rizla | May 8, 2011 | Reply

  3. […] have a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to bullying. Don’t believe me check out my blog on Social Games Policy on Bullying and read the statement they gave me on the topic.  Maybe it is time you come up with […]

    Pingback by Does Mafia Wars Even Care Anymore ? « The Facebook & Zynga Blog | May 7, 2011 | Reply

  4. What kind of stupid nonsense is this? If you can’t take a game of football, or a bit of Mafia Wars, then go dress up in a pink tutu and cry to your mommy… if you can’t take playing a game, then unplug and get off the internet. Stupid morons… seriously?

    Comment by I'll Crack Your Ass | April 28, 2011 | Reply

  5. You can’t put a system in place for a game that makes it’s money on bully’n. The game is mafia wars, it was designed to build up your character and be dominate. It was also made to have the player with the most skill points and weapons to do what they want until you can beat that person….

    It’s a cycle of back and forth and the players who don’t put money into the game are not put on their own cry baby island. Or worse report an account that someone has invested thousands of dollars into and have them loose their account.

    There’s ways to combat bullies, get social … get better mafia, ask mafia to attack, hitlist. Some of the biggest players in the game sit on the hitlist … and the last resort is join a clan for protection.

    Other then that heal up cupcake and enjoy the game, it’s a game and if you let it get to you then unplug.

    Comment by jason | April 26, 2011 | Reply

  6. Good to see you taking steps in the right direction even if the answers aren’t there… yet. Raising awareness is one of the first things that needs to be done. We all have a voice and by using it we will be heard. Nice work John.

    Comment by Rizla | April 26, 2011 | Reply


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