TRIGGER WARNING: VIOLENCE AND RAPE
The “Trouble at the Koolaid Point” article tells us a lot about the struggle a woman had to face because of “trolls” online. She explains how awful it is for a woman to have to deal with people who don’t feel like they “deserved the attention” and who feel threatened that she (or any other woman is getting the attention at all).
A scary statistic I found about Twitter says that “a study of 134,000 abusive social media mentions showed that 88% of them occur on Twitter.” (Jim Edwards, Buisness Insider)
Although that 88% isn’t specifically all women, the same article also gives this example:
“Sue Perkins, the British TV host, gave up using Twitter last week after she received death threats merely because other people had suggested she might make a good replacement for Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear.”
This is a real life example of a woman getting attention, who some felt she didn’t “deserve” and so the harassment began. And, escalated quickly. Much how Sierra described it in her writing. It’s almost exactly the same.
Another place where “trolls” lurk would be iFunny. (A social media that is for posting funny pictures or videos and liking or commenting on them)
Below is a picture of an interview with a child. I have no way of actually knowing if this quote is real or not but this is how the picture was displayed on the site.
This was meant to be a “joke”.
But the joke isn’t what I’m going to be talking about.
It’s the responses this picture evokes. The reactions it pulls out of people.
In the comment section, you can find a lot of horrible comments about this picture. Things about all the ways they want to “kill” this child, beat them, set them on fire. One guy says “If you can’t beat them, kill them”. You can see that people are just trying to “top” one another in the same way described in “Trouble at the Koolaid Point”. Who can say the “funniest” and worst thing? Who can go that far just for the laughs? (Or, as Kathy Sierra put it, “for the lulz”)
Many different photos on iFunny, a lot that have a woman in it, have a lot of comments having to do with rape.
For this specific photo, many go as far as to literally describe in detail how they plan to “rape her”. Or suggest that her father should rape her to “set her straight”.
Real quotes, from real people on iFunny. You know, “just being funny”.
Some of these comments are from hours ago. This is something happening right now.
Why are people so comfortable with talking like this online? These are real people you are saying things about. That is a real child somewhere in this world that you are talking about (“joking” about) violating.
And when you see actual people replying and confronting the horrible comments they use the same responses that Sierra says they would.
“Oh boohoo someone was mean on the internet.”
- The lectures (and article on Business Insider) suggests that people could be doing this on things like Twitter because of “identity”. People know who you are on FaceBook and LinkedIn. Do these people act this way because it’s easier to get away with? Or could you think of another reason why Twitter and iFunny may be such a popular place for harassment?
- How do you think this harassment should be handled? In the lectures, Gail pointed out that some agree nothing should be done to change the free speech. What do you think? Should this be something treated like hate speech in face to face interactions? Or does the internet run on different rules? Should the internet run on different rules?
- Do you see things like this often or at all? And, perhaps, do you even see things like this on social media platforms where your identity is known?