Italy Takes Action Against Cyber Harassment

Nineteen-year-old Italian fashion blogger Chiara Nasti receives malicious online comments and hate messages every day. To show haters what she thinks of their comments, she printed some of them on toilet paper and shared a photo on her social media networks with the title “Clean it in a decent way” (“Pulirsi in modo decente”). But many Italian teenagers are not strong enough to fight online abuse with humor.

Instagram photo of Chiara Nasti

nastilove Clean it in a decent way #forhaters

lucadifazio A standing ovation that starts from Posillipo and ends in Milano. You have won @nastilove

chiarramazz0tta YOU ROCK almostshadow I’m dying


In the last couple of years, several cases of teenaged suicides caused by online harassment have been reported across Italy, forcing the Italian government to adopt a cyber-bullying law this May. 

Carolina Picchio from the Italian city of Novara was fourteen-years-old when she killed herself by jumping from her window. A video of her apparently drunk at a party had been posted on Facebook, sparking online hatred from an ex-boyfriend and his peers. Her sister and friends said they had reported abusive messages to Facebook but no action had been taken.

Support tweets after Carolina’s death in January 2013


#RIPCarolina she committed suicide because of the fault of people who made fun of her. Will you help me tweet it? A re-tweet will be enough too, thanks.

Tyler’s smile @ProudMahomies

They just talked about it in the news, I’m feeling like crying. #ripcarolina With this, everyone should understand how strong words can be.  

beatuiful since ’92 @demisfreedom



According to Italian parliamentarians, the law, which now makes it illegal for anyone to subject a minor to cyber harassment and ensures that any insulting posts or defamatory comments must be quickly removed from social media sites, is dedicated to Carolina. Carolina is one of dozens of young Italians who have committed suicide due to cyber bullying.

Facebook is a popular site in Italy, with approximately 90% of the teenaged population using it on a regular basis. Many parents, however, are not aware of their children’s involvement in Facebook or similar social sites nor have they taken the time to help their kids establish safe habits online, notes web platform

Under the new law, Italian teenagers over 14 years old and parents of younger children can now directly ask a web site which hosts abusive comments to delete them. If the offensive content is still visible after 48 hours, victims can appeal to an independent privacy guarantor which will intervene with the site’s management. The law also pushes schools to have an active role in fighting against cyber harassment, while teachers in every school will receive comprehensive guidelines updated every two years from the Ministry of Education.

To support the fight against online abuse in Italy, Italian YouTubers La Sabri Gamer, Giulia Penna, Jack Nobile, Cesca, and Klaus have produced a video supporting the #Cyberesistance initiative. The slogan of the video is, “I can talk . . . I want to talk” (“Io posso parlare . . . Io voglio parlare”), which is a reference to the silence of victims who very often do not talk about their suffering to anyone.

The campaign has developed with the collaboration of Professor Luca Bernardo, Director of the Pediatric Facility at the well-known Italian hospital Fatebenefratelli Sacco, which takes care of victims of bullying and cyber-bullying. According to him, the unit receives about 7,000 requests for help a year.

According to, one in four survey participants in Italy have admitted to committing a cyberattack by threatening one or more of their friends; 6% have confessed to being systematic cyber bullies in the past. Furthermore, 13% of young Italians have admitted to having posted provocative photos and/or videos on the web; many did so for money or other forms of gain.

It is expected that the new law will help to decrease online bullying and its worrying consequences in Italy. Time will tell if, and to what extent, legal proscriptions are effective.

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