The Kernel is devoting January to the exposure of malicious internet trolls. And we need your help.
Do you have an abuser, libeller or bully who won’t leave you alone on Twitter or Facebook? If so, The Kernel wants to hear from you – and to help you make the abuse stop.
It doesn’t matter if your troll is anonymous, pseudonymous or whether he uses his real name. If he is pseudonymous, we’ll try to help you discover his real-world identity. Then we’ll publish it, along with examples of the cruelty you’ve endured.
If he uses his real name, we’ll draw attention to his unacceptable behaviour.
We believe it’s high time that a “name and shame” approach to internet abusers was taken. Perhaps with enough cautionary tales floating around, the dregs of the web will think twice before ruining other people’s lives.
Because they really are ruining other people’s lives. Just last week, The Kernel reported on the outrageous story of a respected technology journalist forced to disclose his sexuality after a prolonged campaign of lurid threats.
That came just 24 hours after Kernel editor Milo Yiannopoulos exposed one of his own trolls: a teacher in a school for children with learning difficulties who thought that Yiannopoulos’s domestic violence experience was a suitable subject for mocking abuse on Twitter.
And then, of course, most seriously of all, there is the case of the Irish politician whose suicide last month has been linked to voluminous quantities of online abuse.
Well. If the nastier side of the internet refuses to police itself, we believe it’s the responsibility of the press to do what the judiciary and our friend with the talking brooches can’t – or won’t.
Anonymity online is not a right, and those those who abuse it deserve to be exposed. We will expose them.
This will be an expensive endeavour for us: each of these stories will need to be forensically examined by our lawyers. But we believe it’s an investment worth making and that it will make the internet a safer, happier place.
For too long, figures in the public eye, particularly journalists, have accepted trolls as a cost of doing business: something that must be endured on a daily basis as part of the job.
That is unacceptable. We refuse to bow to the prevailing wisdom that the internet is a lawless, uncontrollable place that can outrun justice. And we’re not scared of the bullies and bastards who will inevitable come after us for spearheading this campaign.
So: if you have stories and screenshots to share, get in touch. We’ve enlisted the help of a ferocious investigative reporter to help us track down – and close down – the people making your life a misery online.
Welcome to #TROLLWATCH.