A mockup of an intervention, with a smirking figurine asking "You didn't get hacked did you?" as though to suggest that, in fact, they're well aware that the "hacked" person was actually being a troll.

Email to trolls suggesting their account's been hacked

Cut down on trolling behavior without shaming users

Our confidence rating


Share This Intervention

Back To Top

What It Is

This is an email that is sent to the user, which highlights the offending post and asks if the user's account has been compromised (and can encourage them to change their password). This is a tool at moderators' disposal for when they see one-off behavior that violates community guidelines.

When To Use It

This email should be sent to the user after content moderation methods have detected they have engaged in behaviors which violate community guidelines.

What Is Its Intended Impact

This allows people who have posted hostile content to modify their behavior to fit community guidelines while saving face.

It can, hopefully, cut down on online harassment, while also avoiding resentment against the platform for enforcement of its rules.

Evidence That It Works

Evidence That It Works

Why It Matters

Many psychologists believe that one of the biggest drivers of violence of all kinds is shame. Interventions that reduce harms and avoid shaming the perpetrator may have a significant role in preventing those users from even more toxic behavior in the future.

Special Considerations

This approach risks backfiring in multiple ways.

In the event that a moderator flags a post as being a suspected hack, the contributor may view this as a dismissal of their input. They may further cause them to react negatively, who may genuinely feel that harsh language is necessary for the given topic at hand.

A scenario, wherein harsh—but sincere—posts are met with this intervention from a community moderator, is foreseeable. Such a scenario would undermine this intervention's continued use in that case.

Should this intervention be available for use, moderators should exercise immense care before leveraging it, and only use it in a highly targeted way.

Of course, as this intervention remains untested, such a backfiring effect also remains strictly conjecture.


This intervention entry currently lacks photographic evidence (screencaps, &c.)


This intervention entry currently lacks academic citations.

Is this intervention missing something?

You can help us! Click here to contribute a citation, example, or correction.

Further reading

Back to Prosocial Design Library