As much as we love social media, we also realise that it comes with its fair share of downsides.

Granted, whilst things like ‘FOMO’ and overly informative status updates from your eccentric aunt can be kind of annoying but, when you take these out of picture there’s still a glaring issue people don’t often talk about: cyberbullying.

And it’s a lot bigger than you might think.

For example. did you know that last year a whopping 115 million images were deleted from social media due to people being bullied about their looks?

115 MILLION. That’s a crapload of pics.

In fact, it’s believed that 65% of women say their confidence has been affected by bullying.

So, to raise awareness about just how widespread cyberbullying is, Rimmel is launching its brand new AI app today in line with National Day of Action Against Bullying. The project, called Cybersmile Assistant, is designed to help offer resources and support for people experiencing online bullying.

To tie in with the launch, PEDESTRIAN.TV spoke with the beauty label Brand Ambassador, Rita Ora, about how she’s dealt with cyber-bullying first hand.

P.TV: Can you tell us about one instance of cyberbullying that has stuck with you over the years?

R: I feel like it happens every day online. Towards me, towards loads of people. They write stuff all the time like ‘you look horrible’, ‘you look whatever’, ‘why are you wearing that?’ Stuff people couldn’t’ say to you in real life.

P.TV: How do you cope with and overcome these kinds of comments?

R: I just ignore them, I don’t even delete it. I just focus on the positive people and respond to the positive people, because they’re the ones who are, like, ‘you look so pretty’, ‘I love this song’.

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P.TV: How has cyberbullying and social media shaped who you’ve become online?

R: I don’t think it’s changed anything about how I act online. I don’t change my behaviour because of people being horrible.

P.TV: Would you say that these experiences have helped you develop a thick skin?

R: Yep. It doesn’t bother me as much. I’ve literally been called everything under the sun.

P.TV: Have you always experienced cyberbullying?

R: Yeah because I think, a lot of the time, I’m bringing out a lot of other people’s insecurities because they see someone else doing things that they wish they could do. Even the press sometimes will write things like ‘Cinderella story’ implying that I’m just putting a shoe on and that I haven’t worked to get to where you are. I think they’re also part of the problem.

Have you ever seen when someone replies to a troll and they go, ‘oh my god, I can’t believe you’ve seen my comment’? It just shows that, in their head, they’re so small and irrelevant that they can’t even comprehend that you’d know they exist. So that’s why I just ignore it.

P.TV: Do you think there’s any value in taking a social media hiatus? 

R: It depends how much it’s affecting you. If that’s what you want to do, it’s all a personal decision. I probably do that on holiday so I can relax more. Sometime’s I’ll talk to my friends on the DMs or chat, but I’ll send memes. I love memes. We have a meme group where we’ll send about 15 memes a day.

P.TV: Do you find comfort in talking to others who are experiencing the same thing?

R: That’s why me and Cara Delevingne did this campaign together, but she’s got double the followers [41.5 million] that I have [14.6 million].

P.TV: Do you find that despite having quite different personal brands there’s a lot of overlap in the type of comments you both receive from trolls?

R: Yeah, it’s all the same type of comments. Just trying to bring people down.

P.TV: What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self about cyber-bullying?

R: ‘Don’t care what they say.’ But I don’t know if I can go back in time because it’s not just cyber-bullying, it’s internet bullying and what people write about you – it goes into one big blob.

Image: Instagram / [@ritaora]