How Not to Trigger Your Friends

With current events being such as they are, your social media pages must be overrun with Kavanaugh hearings. And if you’re a survivor of sexual abuse you may be feeling a bit under attack.

I know I and a lot of my friends are. Because of the abuse I survived, I have PTSD. I pretty much have a handle on it most days but when you’re being constantly bombarded with triggering content it can be hard. It’s made especially hard by people who do not tag the content they post properly or not at all.

If these posts were being shared by people who didn’t know better or even by people who have spoken out against trigger warnings, I could understand. (I wouldn’t be friends with someone who doesn’t use trigger or content warnings, anyway). No, the reason I’m writing this today is because I am unfortunately being triggered by people who do know better. I know a lot of my friends are feeling the same.

I understand wanting to post the latest bit of news, but I need you to think before you do. Here I share some ways to help not trigger your friends. Since I am blocked on my main profile, I use my alt, which is censored by the color gray. A friend who commented will be censored as yellow.

Image is a screen capture of post made by me on my alt Facebook account. It reads: This is a test post for a blog post I will be writing. There is a comment made also by me that reads: Rather than hide your potentially triggering link and/or image as the first comment, hide it instead in the replies.
This is a closer screen capture of the comment: Rather than hide your potentially triggering link and/or image as the first comment, hide it instead in the replies. Under that comment appears a link which reads Gray replied – 3 replies

In the above screen capture, you see that by making several comments on the first comment will create a “see more” link.

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Yellow warns: Need to warn you — Facebook will also find “the most interesting content” within a collapsed thread, and if there’s no comments of substance (e.g. “beep boop” or “.” over and over), that might include the image you’re trying to hide. Giving users control over doing the “potentially damaging content” filter would be optimal. Why would Facebook ever do that sort of thing though? :p (tongue out emoticon)

Because Facebook is trash like Yellow mentions, hiding triggering commentary behind edits is useful. Although not so for images. Which case, ask yourself, can this be said rather than shared on an image? Is this even a necessary thing to add to this conversation?

In the above screen capture I begin to show how to edit a comment to hide triggering commentary. Click on the three dots • • •, which will show two options, a pencil icon with the word Edit next to it and below that, a trash can icon with the word Delete next to it.

Clicking on Edit will make it so you are able to edit the comment, of course.

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In this screen capture shows Gray’s comment obscured by a “Show edit history” box. That box shows up when you hover over the word “Edited” which appears under a comment which has been edited. Clicking on it will show previous versions of the current comment.
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Example of previous versions of the current comment as shown above. Comments are; Gray: Example of hiding commentary behind edits Gray: Triggering commentary behind edit

The following screen captures are of the Facebook mobile app, of editing and viewing edited comments.

mobile 1
Gray: Now to test these out in mobile to get screenshots cuz of course, a survivor has to do all the work of explaining this shit to people. Gray: Lol had to switch mobile facebook back to english. I had it on german.
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I edited the second comment which mentions German. To do so, I pressed and held down on the comment until a drop down menu appeared with the options to •Copy •Delete •Edit •Cancel Edit is underlined in red by me. Click on that.
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Once edited you can look back on the comments edit history by pressing and holding down on the comment until another drop down menu appears with •Copy •Delete •Edit •View Edit History •Cancel Click on View Edit History (underline here by me in red) and you’ll see the comments previous versions.
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Example of the above previous edits to comments. That particular comment was about switching Facebook’s language back to English. I had it set to German.

Now the previous examples were for comments, following is how you can edit links which may have potentially triggering images attached.

hide triggering image link1
Image shows a link to Animal Planet’s website showing cute kitten photos. Below that is a cute kitten. On the image of the kitten there is an X which is circled in red.

Let’s pretend for a moment that cute kittens are a problematic image. In order to hide that image you can hover over it and an X should appear, which you can then click on. The link should then look like the below:

hide triggering image link2
Screen capture of the same link as above, this time without the image. The rest of the page is what Facebook looks like on Desktop when you are going to make a post.

Alternatively if you’re going to post just an image which could be triggering (animal abuse, child abuse, fire, car crashes etc. For me, images of men standing over women, who are cowering and beaten are triggering) you can post a place holder image. Feel free to take the below image for your own use. Facebook does prioritize image based posts over texts posts so if you must, please try to be mindful of what you post.


As a dear friend also pointed out:

Facebook already has the code written and implemented on hiding and unhiding violent images. Yet they won’t give users the control to hide their own content. Only Facebook can determine what is truly triggering, even though they see us adding TWs and CNs to our posts and hiding stuff in comments and edits to respect the autonomy of our friends. It really wouldn’t be hard for them at all to let us tag our own shit as violent, and it would make this place much safer and user friendly. Cmon.

Screencapture of a post that Facebook itself censored to let the user decide if they want to see the content or not.

I’m going to repeat what I wrote above: ‘Is this even a necessary thing to add to this conversation?”. Ask yourself that before you share anything related to current events. If you’re just sharing what has been shared ad nauseam, is this even needed? Do you have something to say? Something which hasn’t been said already? Then by all means, share away.

Now, this post may seem unnecessary maybe even a bit excessive. Of course I am not trying to police people’s posts but I do want people to be mindful. To think of how you could be affecting your friends and others. I cannot begin to tell you how triggering these past few days have been for me and my friends. Some people just do not care and this post isn’t for them. For all I care those people can fuck off. Most people on my timeline do try their best to hide things. But I also see a lot of people who don’t because they just do not know. I wasn’t aware of using the Editing feature to hide things until a friend pointed out it could be useful that way.

So, just be mindful and stay safe, friends.

By the way, here’s that link to the adorable kittens.

How Not to Trigger Your Friends

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