The backlight of the keys glow with the screen creating ghoulish shadows on the face of teen sitting in a darkened corner of their room trolling celebrities and classmates online.
This is the scene we imagine in our heads when thinking of online trolls who comment on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs about their classmates, celebrities, and those with whom they portend to be friends.
While this scene may have some validity, the fact is online trolls are everywhere, lurking in a cubicle and offices across America, let alone the presumptive teenage boys and girls participating in online #bullying.
If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…
Too often people comment online, using their screen names and perceived anonymity to remark about others in ways they would likely never say out loud and certainly almost never say to the individual in person. This online trolling is so pervasive is not only extends to friends, coworkers, and classmates, but is perhaps most famously demonstrated by celebrities whose faces, bodies, and decisions are dissected in often gross and unfortunate ways.
For every one celebrity harassed online certainly there are individuals and businesses by the thousands who are recipients of the same online trolling, but the celebrities fighting back only helps raise awareness and hopefully brings about greater responsibility and accountability by all of us online.
Through countless interviews we feel as though we know celebrities perhaps as well if not better than the neighbor next door or the person five feet away in the next desk of cubicle. Perhaps this is why celebrity bullying is so prevalent and internet trolls are everywhere.
Demi Lovato Strikes Back. Again
Recently Demi Lovato went on a Twitter rant demolishing those online trolling her comments and actions. This is not the first or assumedly the last we will hear from Demi on the subject, someone who has never been shy to speak her mind. She shares her views and also shares her responses to internet trolls with impunity.
You Are Not Anonymous Online
In 2015 an innocuous post by former All Star Pitcher Curt Schilling congratulating his daughter turned ugly. A picture with his pretty daughter along with his post led others to add disgusting comments about rape and other things one would almost assuredly never say out loud, certainly not to his daughter’s face if she were standing before these online trolls. Never one to back down (which unfortunately led Curt to his recent firing from ESPN), Curt fired back aggressively, getting 9 people either fired, kicked out of school, or removed from their sports teams.
While we feel like we have the power behind our computer screens and have anonymity, the fact is you are not. Curt recognized this and utilized the information one can gain in order to identify these individuals and have them face the consequences.
Disgusting Blogger Loses Job
Gawker, renowned for identifying and “righting wrongs” as they perceive them, famously identified a blogger whose online “anonymous” name was Violentacrez. This individual had subreddit posts including: r/rapebait, r/incest, r/picsofdeadkids, r/jailbait, and r/chokeabitch. Gawker identified the man, Michael Brutsch, who was subsequently fired from his job once his employer was notified about Mr Brutsch’s disgusting online posts.