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Vocapedia > Technology > Internet

 

Hate speech,  Cyberbullying, Trolling,

Online violence / abuse / harassment

 


 

 

John Cole

The Scranton Times-Tribune

Cagle

26 October 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

online violence        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/feb/03/
children-upset-online-violence-study

 

 

 

 

digital cruelty        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/
sunday-review/dealing-with-digital-cruelty.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children    NSPCC        UK

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/ 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/10/
cyberbullies-target-children-nspcc-internet-abuse-askfm

 

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/nov/03/
childrensservices.childprotection1 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/jul/05/
children.childprotection

 

 

 

 

chatroom        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2004/may/29/crime.uknews

 

 

 

 

internet safety        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/internet-safety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cyber banging        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/10/07/
446300514/when-social-media-fuels-gang-violence

 

 

 

 

cyberstalking        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/apr/08/
cyberstalking-study-victims-men

 

 

 

 

cyberstalking        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/09/15/
346149979/smartphones-are-used-to-stalk-control-domestic-abuse-victims

 

 

 

 

online stalking        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/13/
third-women-online-stalking-partners-exes

 

 

 

 

online harassment        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/20/
yvette-cooper-calls-for-greater-monitoring-of-online-harassment

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/2013/jul/28/
man-arrested-rape-threats-twitter

 

 

 

 

online harassment        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/04/
magazine/why-cant-silicon-valley-fix-online-harassment.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/01/23/
463197593/yik-yak-tests-universities-defense-of-free-speech

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/13/
opinion/yik-yak-stopping-online-harassment-before-it-starts.html

 

 

 

 

virtual play > sex harassment        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/us/
sexual-harassment-in-online-gaming-stirs-anger.html

 

 

 

 

online harassers            USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/
style/women-turn-tables-on-online-harassers.html

 

 

 

 

harasser        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/16/us/
felony-charges-for-2-girls-in-suicide-of-bullied-12-year-old-rebecca-sedwick.html

 

 

 

 

online abuse        UK

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/
opinion/women-dont-back-down-online.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/18/
tell-us-about-the-first-time-you-were-targeted-by-online-abuse

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/14/
mary-beard-vocal-women-treated-freakish-androgynes

 

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jul/29/
police-chief-social-media-abuse

 

 

 

 

online sexual abuse crimes        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/16/
cambridge-graduate-pleads-guilty-to-137-online-sex-abuse-crimes

 

 

 

 

online misogyny, racism and homophobic abuse        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/20/
yvette-cooper-calls-for-greater-monitoring-of-online-harassment

 

 

 

 

Twitter > abusive posts        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/15/
502170396/twitter-adds-new-ways-to-mute-and-report-abusive-posts

 

 

 

 

online abuse > women        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/
opinion/sunday/douthat-the-war-on-women.html

 

 

 

 

slut page        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/02/29/
467959873/teen-girls-and-social-media-a-story-of-secret-lives-and-misogyny

 

 

 

 

revenge porn        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/02/29/
467959873/teen-girls-and-social-media-a-story-of-secret-lives-and-misogyny

 

 

 

 

smear        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/04/18/
474671097/how-social-media-smeared-a-missing-student-as-a-terrorism-suspect

 

 

 

 

One in five teachers abused online

by parents and pupils, survey says        UK        21 April 2014

 

Many teachers do not report abuse

due to management failure

in dealing with previous incidents,

NASUWT study finds

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/apr/21/
teachers-abused-online-parents-pupils

 

 

 

 

abuser        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/aug/03/
how-to-stop-trolls-social-media

 

 

 

 

online rape threats        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jul/28/
yvette-cooper-twitter-response-rape-threats

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/28/
how-to-tackle-online-rape-threats

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/27/
twitter-rape-threats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

people detained or sentenced

for internet-related offences        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2004/feb/01/
business.microsoft 

 

 

 

 

fear of online crime        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2006/oct/09/
news.crime 

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2006/oct/08/
internetcrime.internet

 

 

 

 

cyberfraud gang        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/09/
fraud-gang-jailed-identity-theft

 

 

 

 

identity theft kits        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/09/
fraud-gang-jailed-identity-theft

 

 

 

 

identity fraud        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2006/oct/23/
business.scamsandfraud 

 

 

 

 

masquerade as teenagers        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/
technology/verifying-ages-online-is-a-daunting-task-even-for-experts.html 

 

 

 

 

the trading of graphic images

and transmitting of live sexual molestation        USA

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-03-15-
child-ring_x.htm

 

 

 

 

data theft        USA

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-06-04-
data-theft_x.htm

 

 

 

 

'psychonauts'        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2005/may/26/
drugs.sciencenews 

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2005/may/26/
drugs.uknews 

 

 

 

 

suicide websites and chatrooms        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/oct/11/
socialcare.technology

 

 

 

 

gossip        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/us/
small-town-gossip-moves-to-the-web-anonymous-and-vicious.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You Hater! - by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay        2012

 

 

 

 

Thank You Hater! - by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay

YouTube > cleverpie        added 8 June 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uz2jbCJXkpA

LYRICS:

Well hello friend Mister Insightful
Thank you for your comment on my little Youtube clip!
Most people say you're cruel and spiteful,
But you're right, how do I sleep at night? I am a massive prick.

They call you hater well they're just jealous
Your constructive pearls of wisdom give me thrills I can't deny
How will we know if you don't tell us
We could improve our Youtube channels by "fucking off and dying"?

Some might say you are a...
Sexually aggressive, racist, homophobe, misogynistic,
Cowardly, illitterate, waste of human skin,
Sexually aggressive, racist, homophobe, misogynistic,
Cowardly, iliterat, waste of human skin,
But I say: thank you beautiful stranger.

I love the way you don't upload things
You know we'd be too dazzled by your cinematic vision
But you're there on every comment string
Where you teach us,
just like Jesus but while wanking like a gibbon.

I'm really sure that if I met you
You probably wouldn't rape me like you promised that you would
We are like "that"; I really get you
You're right about that laughing kid, he is a total "cnut".

(Samba instrumental)

You wished me cancer and misspelled "cancer"
But I know that it's a metaphor. You hope that I will grow,
Just like the tumour you hoped would kill me
Inside the tits on which you said you'd also like a go.

You said that girls shouldn't do funny
But you'd fuck me double hard and let your mates go after you.
Oh what a line you lovely honey.
Are you on e-harmony? Oo! I'll join the queue!

Some might say you're a...
sexually aggressive, racist, homophobe, misogynistic,
cowardly, illitterate, waste of human skin,
sexually aggressive, racist, homophobe, misogynistic,
cowardly, iliterate, waste of human skin.

But if it wasn't for you my darling,
I would never have written this tune.
Some might say that You're So Vain,
But this song is all about you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cyberbully        USA

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/04/21/
604073315/when-teens-cyberbully-themselves

 

 

 

 

be cyberbullied        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/10/
cyberbullies-target-children-nspcc-internet-abuse-askfm

 

 

 

 

cyberbullies        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/us/
suicide-of-girl-after-bullying-raises-worries-on-web-sites.html

 

 

 

 

bullies        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/17/
technology/facebook-changes-privacy-policy-for-teenagers.html

 

 

 

 

bullies        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/dec/13/
twitter-reinstates-blocking-function-after-backlash

 

 

 

 

cyberbullying        UK / USA

http://www.theguardian.com/society/cyberbullying

 

http://www.npr.org/2015/07/13/
422672888/an-app-to-stop-cyberbullying

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/
style/monica-lewinsky-is-back-but-this-time-its-on-her-terms.html

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/
100000002918573/a-school-tackles-cyberbullying.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/jan/09/
cyberbullying-childline-statistics-online-bullying

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/08/
life-automobile-steven-parissien-auto-biography-mark-wallington-review

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/22/us/
charges-dropped-against-florida-girls-accused-in-cyberbullying-death.html

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/21/
charges-dropped-florida-cyberbullying-suicide

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/09/
children-online-sexting-bullying-security-settings

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/16/us/
felony-charges-for-2-girls-in-suicide-of-bullied-12-year-old-rebecca-sedwick.html

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/10/
cyberbullies-target-children-nspcc-internet-abuse-askfm

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/09/
cyberbullying-mother-fight-askfm

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/09/
rehtaeh-parsons-suicide-charged-photos

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/07/
hannah-smith-suicide-cyberbullying-ask-fm-twitter

 

 

 

 

an app to stop cyberbullying        USA

http://www.npr.org/2015/07/13/
422672888/an-app-to-stop-cyberbullying

 

 

 

 

digital harassment        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/
style/monica-lewinsky-is-back-but-this-time-its-on-her-terms.html

 

 

 

 

cyberbullying websites        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/08/
cyberbullying-websites-boycotted-david-cameron

 

 

 

 

being maligned, threatened and taunted online        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/us/
suicide-of-girl-after-bullying-raises-worries-on-web-sites.html

 

 

 

 

menacing social media post        USA

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/15/
593799322/sister-of-charleston-shooter-dylann-roof-arrested-after-menacing-social-media-po
 

 

 

 

Yik Yak        USA

 

It's like

an anonymous version of Twitter.

 

But because it's anonymous,

it can get ugly

and be a breeding ground

for hate speech

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/01/23/
463197593/yik-yak-tests-universities-defense-of-free-speech

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/01/23/
463197593/yik-yak-tests-universities-defense-of-free-speech

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/13/
opinion/yik-yak-stopping-online-harassment-before-it-starts.html

 

 

 

 

social networking site > Ask.fm        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/sep/22/
esme-smith-ask-fm-messages

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/09/
cyberbullying-mother-fight-askfm

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/08/
cyberbullying-websites-boycotted-david-cameron

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/06/
askfm-way-to-make-it-safe

 

 

 

 

online bullying        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/06/
hannah-smith-online-bullying

 

 

 

 

online bullying        USA

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/03/
500560195/melania-trump-reemerges-on-campaign-trail-pledges-to-fight-online-bullying

 

 

 

 

online bullies        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jun/21/
buillies-playground-follow-children

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jun/09/
thank-you-hater-trolls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cyberbully / Internet troll        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/mar/10/
internet-warriors-inside-dark-world-of-online-trolls-kyrre-lien

 

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/20/
technology-mental-health-children

 

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/19/
justice-secretary-chris-grayling-pledges-stiffer-sentences-for-internet-trolls

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/06/
experience-i-was-an-internet-troll

 

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/07/
hannah-smith-jo-sister-online-bullying

 

 

 

 

oneline trolls        USA

https://www.npr.org/2018/01/23/
579884628/victims-of-neo-nazi-troll-storm-find-difficulties-doing-something-about-it

 

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/08/19/
the-war-against-online-trolls

 

 

 

 

neo-Nazi online trolls        USA

https://www.npr.org/2018/01/23/
579884628/victims-of-neo-nazi-troll-storm-find-difficulties-doing-something-about-it

 

 

 

 

trolls        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/06/12/
529747366/this-baker-makes-internet-trolls-eat-their-words-literally

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/08/01/
488256587/can-candid-conversations-happen-online-without-the-trolls

 

 

 

 

trolling        UK

https://www.youtube.com/
watch?time_continue=8&v=Y-ica8bbyQs - G - 15 June 2018

 

 

 

 

sexual predator        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/17/
technology/facebook-changes-privacy-policy-for-teenagers.html

 

 

 

 

social media witch-hunts        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/13/
social-media-witch-hunts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

internet troll        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/06/
experience-i-was-an-internet-troll

 

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/dec/13/
twitter-reinstates-blocking-function-after-backlash

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/aug/04/
caroline-criado-perez-twitter-rape-threats

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/aug/03/
how-to-stop-trolls-social-media

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/29/
mary-beard-silences-twitter-troll

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/
internet-trolls-guide-to-different-flavours

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/apr/26/
internet-troll-kill-tennessee-students

 

 

 

 

What is an internet troll?        12 June 2012

 

Victims of anonymous trolls

on Twitter and other social media

may soon have the power to discover

their tormentors' identities,

thanks to a new law.

 

But what's the difference between a troll

and somebody who just has very bad manners?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jun/12/
what-is-an-internet-troll

 

 

 

 

RIP trolls        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/
internet-trolls-guide-to-different-flavours

 

 

 

 

fame trolls        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/
internet-trolls-guide-to-different-flavours

 

 

 

 

care trolls        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/
internet-trolls-guide-to-different-flavours

 

 

 

 

political trolls        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/
internet-trolls-guide-to-different-flavours

 

 

 

 

trolling    UK

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jul/29/
twitter-abuse-dealing-with-trolls-options

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/
internet-trolls-guide-to-different-flavours

 

 

 

 

Internet trolling        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/
fashion/mary-beard-against-internet-trolling.html

 

 

 

 

online trolling of women        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/03/
online-trolling-women-domestic-violence

 

 

 

 

Tyler Clementi        USA

 

was an 18-year-old

Rutgers University freshman

who killed himself in September 2010

after discovering that his roommate

had secretly used a webcam

to stream Mr. Clementi’s

romantic interlude with another man

over the Internet.

http://www.nytimes.com/topic/person/tyler-clementi

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/nyregion/
dharun-ravi-tyler-clementi-case-guilty-plea.html

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/27/
499663847/roommate-pleads-guilty-in-rutgers-suicide-case

 

http://www.nytimes.com/video/nyregion/
100000001559420/ex-rutgers-student-sentenced.html - May 21, 2012

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/nyregion/
in-rutgers-case-mystery-man-testifies-about-noticing-a-webcam.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

internet pervert

 

 

 

 

internet groomer

 

 

 

 

cyber pimp

 

 

 

 

real-time images

 

 

 

 

send indecent text messages

 

 

 

 

creepy messages        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/
style/women-turn-tables-on-online-harassers.html

 

 

 

 

paedophile

 

 

 

 

paedophile ring        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/07/
scottish-paedophile-ring-guilty-child-abuse

 

 

 

 

ringleader        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/07/
scottish-paedophile-ring-guilty-child-abuse

 

 

 

 

offender        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/07/
scottish-paedophile-ring-guilty-child-abuse

 

 

 

 

child porn victim        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/nov/04/
childrensservices.childprotection
 

 

 

 

 

anti-paedophile investigation        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2006/jul/03/
news.childrensservices 

 

 

 

 

cyberstalker

 

 

 

 

cyber bully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blackmailing on the internet /  cyber blackmail        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/16/
cyber-scams-take-advantage-hope-trust

 

 

 

 

cyber scams        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/16/
cyber-scams-take-advantage-hope-trust

 

 

 

 

blackmailer        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/16/
cyber-scams-take-advantage-hope-trust

 

 

 

 

threaten        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/16/
cyber-scams-take-advantage-hope-trust

 

 

 

 

threat        USA

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/06/20/
323723127/supreme-court-facebook-delve-into-threatening-language

 

 

 

 

 online violent threats / social media threats        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/08/03/
how-to-crack-down-on-social-media-threats

 

 

 

 

use of social media to threaten and control        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/05/
violent-crimes-against-women-in-england-and-wales-reach-record-high

 

 

 

 

hate        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/
opinion/college-social-media-hate.html

 

 

 

 

hate speech        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/11/17/
495827410/from-hate-speech-to-fake-news-the-content-crisis-facing-mark-zuckerberg

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/07/14/
486036166/in-wake-of-shootings-facebook-struggles-to-define-hate-speech

 

 

 

 

make a nasty comment

about N on Facebook        USA

http://www.npr.org/2017/02/11/
514164988/the-trump-voter-and-the-facebook-commenter
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Felony Counts for 2

in Suicide of Bullied 12-Year-Old

 

October 15, 2013

The New York Times

By LIZETTE ALVAREZ

 

MIAMI — For the Polk County sheriff’s office, which has been investigating the cyberbullying suicide of a 12-year-old Florida girl, the Facebook comment was impossible to disregard.

In Internet shorthand it began “Yes, ik” — I know — “I bullied Rebecca nd she killed herself.” The writer concluded that she didn’t care, using an obscenity to make the point and a heart as a perverse flourish. Five weeks ago, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, a seventh grader in Lakeland in central Florida, jumped to her death from an abandoned cement factory silo after enduring a year, on and off, of face-to-face and online bullying.

The Facebook post, Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said, was so offensive that he decided to move forward with the arrest immediately rather than continue to gather evidence. With a probable cause affidavit in hand, he sent his deputies Monday night to arrest two girls, calling them the “primary harassers.” The first, a 14-year-old, is the one who posted the comment Saturday, he said. The second is her friend, and Rebecca’s former best friend, a 12-year-old.

Both were charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony and will be processed through the juvenile court system. Neither had an arrest record. The older girl was taken into custody in the juvenile wing of the Polk County Jail. The younger girl, who the police said expressed remorse, was released to her parents under house arrest.

Originally, Sheriff Judd said he had hoped to wait until he received data from two far-flung cellphone application companies, Kik Messenger and ask.fm, before moving forward.

“We learned this over the weekend, and we decided that, look, we can’t leave her out there,” Sheriff Judd said, referring to the older girl. “Who else is she going to torment? Who else is she going to harass? Who is the next person she verbally abuses and attacks?”

He said the older girl told the police that her account had been hacked, and that she had not posted the comment.

“She forced this arrest today,” Sheriff Judd said.

Rebecca was bullied from December 2012 to February 2013, according to the probable cause affidavit. But her mother, Tricia Norman, has said the bullying began long before then and continued until Rebecca killed herself.

The older of the two girls acknowledged to the police that she had bullied Rebecca. She said she had sent Rebecca a Facebook message saying that “nobody” liked her, the affidavit said. The girl also texted Rebecca that she wanted to “fight” her, the police said. But the bullying did not end there; Rebecca was told to “kill herself” and “drink bleach and die” among other things, the police added.

The bullying contributed to Rebecca’s suicide, the sheriff said.

Brimming with outrage and incredulity, the sheriff said in a news conference on Tuesday that he was stunned by the older girl’s Saturday Facebook posting. But he reserved his harshest words for the girl’s parents for failing to monitor her behavior, after she had been questioned by the police, and for allowing her to keep her cellphone.

“I’m aggravated that the parents are not doing what parents should do: after she is questioned and involved in this, why does she even have a device?” Sheriff Judd said. “Parents, who instead of taking that device and smashing it into a thousand pieces in front of that child, say her account was hacked.”

The police said the dispute with Rebecca began over a boy. The older girl was upset that Rebecca had once dated her boyfriend, they said.

“She began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca,” said the sheriff, describing the 14-year-old as a girl with a long history of bullying behavior.

The police said the older girl began to turn Rebecca’s friends against her, including her former best friend, the 12-year-old who was charged. She told anyone who tried to befriend Rebecca that they also would be bullied, the affidavit said.

The bullying leapt into the virtual world, Sheriff Judd said, and Rebecca began receiving sordid messages instructing her to “go kill yourself.” The police said Rebecca’s mother was reluctant to take her cellphone away because she did not want to alienate her daughter and wanted her to be able to communicate with her friends. Ms. Norman tried, she has said, to monitor Rebecca’s cellphone activity.

In December, the bullying grew so intense that Rebecca began cutting herself and was sent to a hospital by her mother to receive psychiatric care. Ultimately, her mother pulled her out of Crystal Lake Middle School. She home schooled her for a while and then enrolled her in a new school in August.

But the bullying did not stop.

“As a child, I can remember sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you,” the sheriff said. “Today, words stick because they are printed and they are there forever.”

Some of the messages were sent using a variety of social media smartphone messaging and photo-sharing applications, including ask.fm and Kik Messenger, that parents have a difficult time keeping track of.

“Watch what your children do online,” Sheriff Judd said. “Pay attention. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent. That’s important.”

Felony Counts for 2 in Suicide of Bullied 12-Year-Old,
NYT,
15.10.2013,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/16/us/
felony-charges-for-2-girls-in-suicide-of-bullied-12-year-old-rebecca-sedwick.html

 

 

 

 

 

Girl’s Suicide

Points to Rise in Apps

Used by Cyberbullies

 

September 13, 2013

The New York Times

By LIZETTE ALVAREZ

 

MIAMI — The clues were buried in her bedroom. Before leaving for school on Monday morning, Rebecca Ann Sedwick had hidden her schoolbooks under a pile of clothes and left her cellphone behind, a rare lapse for a 12-year-old girl.

Inside her phone’s virtual world, she had changed her user name on Kik Messenger, a cellphone application, to “That Dead Girl” and delivered a message to two friends, saying goodbye forever. Then she climbed a platform at an abandoned cement plant near her home in the Central Florida city of Lakeland and leaped to the ground, the Polk County sheriff said.

In jumping, Rebecca became one of the youngest members of a growing list of children and teenagers apparently driven to suicide, at least in part, after being maligned, threatened and taunted online, mostly through a new collection of texting and photo-sharing cellphone applications. Her suicide raises new questions about the proliferation and popularity of these applications and Web sites among children and the ability of parents to keep up with their children’s online relationships.

For more than a year, Rebecca, pretty and smart, was cyberbullied by a coterie of 15 middle-school children who urged her to kill herself, her mother said. The Polk County sheriff’s office is investigating the role of cyberbullying in the suicide and considering filing charges against the middle-school students who apparently barraged Rebecca with hostile text messages. Florida passed a law this year making it easier to bring felony charges in online bullying cases.

Rebecca was “absolutely terrorized on social media,” Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said at a news conference this week.

Along with her grief, Rebecca’s mother, Tricia Norman, faces the frustration of wondering what else she could have done. She complained to school officials for several months about the bullying, and when little changed, she pulled Rebecca out of school. She closed down her daughter’s Facebook page and took her cellphone away. She changed her number. Rebecca was so distraught in December that she began to cut herself, so her mother had her hospitalized and got her counseling. As best she could, Ms. Norman said, she kept tabs on Rebecca’s social media footprint.

It all seemed to be working, she said. Rebecca appeared content at her new school as a seventh grader. She was gearing up to audition for chorus and was considering slipping into her cheerleading uniform once again. But unknown to her mother, Rebecca had recently signed on to new applications — ask.fm, and Kik and Voxer — which kick-started the messaging and bullying once again.

“I had never even heard of them; I did go through her phone but didn’t even know,” said Ms. Norman, 42, who works in customer service. “I had no reason to even think that anything was going on. She was laughing and joking.”

Sheriff Judd said Rebecca had been using these messaging applications to send and receive texts and photographs. His office showed Ms. Norman the messages and photos, including one of Rebecca with razor blades on her arms and cuts on her body. The texts were full of hate, her mother said: “Why are you still alive?” “You’re ugly.”

One said, “Can u die please?” To which Rebecca responded, with a flash of resilience, “Nope but I can live.” Her family said the bullying began with a dispute over a boy Rebecca dated for a while. But Rebecca had stopped seeing him, they said.

Rebecca was not nearly as resilient as she was letting on. Not long before her death, she had clicked on questions online that explored suicide. “How many Advil do you have to take to die?”

In hindsight, Ms. Norman wonders whether Rebecca kept her distress from her family because she feared her mother might take away her cellphone again.

“Maybe she thought she could handle it on her own,” Ms. Norman said.

It is impossible to be certain what role the online abuse may have played in her death. But cyberbullying experts said cellphone messaging applications are proliferating so quickly that it is increasingly difficult for parents to keep pace with their children’s complex digital lives.

“It’s a whole new culture, and the thing is that as adults, we don’t know anything about it because it’s changing every single day,” said Denise Marzullo, the chief executive of Mental Health America of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville, who works with the schools there on bullying issues.

No sooner has a parent deciphered Facebook or Twitter or Instagram than his or her children have migrated to the latest frontier. “It’s all of these small ones where all this is happening,” Ms. Marzullo said.

In Britain, a number of suicides by young people have been linked to ask.fm, and online petitions have been started there and here to make the site more responsive to bullying. The company ultimately responded this year by introducing an easy-to-see button to report bullying and saying it would hire more moderators.

“You hear about this all the time,” Ms. Norman said of cyberbullying. “I never, ever thought it would happen to me or my daughter.”

Questions have also been raised about whether Rebecca’s old school, Crystal Lake Middle School, did enough last year to help stop the bullying; some of it, including pushing and hitting, took place on school grounds. The same students also appear to be involved in sending out the hate-filled online messages away from school, something schools can also address.

Nancy Woolcock, the assistant superintendent in charge of antibullying programs for Polk County Schools, said the school received one bullying complaint from Rebecca and her mother in December about traditional bullying, not cyberbullying. After law enforcement investigated, Rebecca’s class schedule was changed. Ms. Woolcock said the school also has an extensive antibullying campaign and takes reports seriously.

But Ms. Norman said the school should have done more. Officials told her that Rebecca would receive an escort as she switched classes, but that did not happen, she said.

Rebecca never boarded her school bus on Monday morning. She made her way to the abandoned Cemex plant about 10 minutes away from her modest mobile home; the plant was a place she had used as a getaway a few times when she wanted to vanish. Somehow, she got past the high chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, which is now a memorial, with teddy bears, candles and balloons. She climbed a tower and then jumped.

“Don’t ignore your kids,” Ms. Norman said, “even if they seem fine.”

 

Lance Speere contributed reporting from Lakeland, Fla.,

and Alan Blinder from Atlanta.

Girl’s Suicide Points to Rise in Apps Used by Cyberbullies,
NYT,
13.9.2013,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/us/
suicide-of-girl-after-bullying-raises-worries-on-web-sites.html

 

 

 

 

 

In Virtual Play,

Sex Harassment Is All Too Real

 

August 1, 2012

The New York Times

By AMY O’LEARY

 

When Miranda Pakozdi entered the Cross Assault video game tournament this year, she knew she had a slim chance of winning the $25,000 prize. But she was ready to compete, and promised fans watching online that she would train just as hard as, if not harder than, anyone else.

Over six days of competition, though, her team’s coach, Aris Bakhtanians, interrogated her on camera about her bra size, said “take off your shirt” and focused the team’s webcam on her chest, feet and legs. He leaned in over her shoulder and smelled her.

Ms. Pakozdi, 25, an experienced gamer, has said she always expects a certain amount of trash talk. But as the only woman on the team, this was too much, especially from her coach, she said. It was after she overheard Mr. Bakhtanians defending sexual harassment as part of “the fighting game community” that she forfeited the game.

Sexism, racism, homophobia and general name-calling are longstanding facts of life in certain corners of online video games. But the Cross Assault episode was the first of a series this year that have exposed the severity of the harassment that many women experience in virtual gaming communities.

And a backlash — on Twitter, in videos, on blogs and even in an online comic strip — has moved the issue beyond endless debate among gaming insiders to more public calls for change.

Executives in the $25 billion-a-year industry are taking note. One game designer’s online call for civility prompted a meeting with Microsoft executives about how to better police Xbox Live. In February, shortly after the Cross Assault tournament, LevelUp, an Internet broadcaster of gaming events, barred two commentators who made light of sexual harassment on camera and issued a formal apology, including statements from the commentators.

Even so, Tom Cannon, co-founder of the largest fighting game tournament, EVO, pulled his company’s sponsorship of the weekly LevelUp series, saying that “we cannot continue to let ignorant, hateful speech slide.”

“The nasty undercurrent in the scene isn’t a joke or a meme,” he said. “It’s something we need to fix.”

Mr. Bakhtanians, whose actions during the Cross Assault tournament were captured on video, later issued a statement in which he apologized if he had offended anyone. He also blamed “my own inability in the heat of the moment to defend myself and the community I have loved for over 15 years.”

But the issues raised by the Cross Assault episode gained more attention with Anita Sarkeesian’s campaign in May to raise $6,000 on Kickstarter to document how women are portrayed in video games. Her YouTube and Facebook pages were instantly flooded with hate-filled comments. People tried to hack her online accounts. She received violent personal threats.

Ms. Sarkeesian responded by documenting the harassment, posting online the doctored, pornographic images of herself that her detractors had created. Supporters of her efforts, aghast, donated more than $150,000, further angering her critics. A man from Ontario created an Internet game where players could “punch” her, layering bruises and cuts on her image until the screen turns red.

“The gaming industry is actually in the process of changing,” Ms. Sarkeesian said. “That’s a really positive thing, but I think there is a small group of male gamers who feel like gaming belongs to them, and are really terrified of that change happening.”

When Sam Killermann, a gamer in Austin, Tex., saw the reaction to Ms. Sarkeesian’s project, something “broke through,” he said. A few weeks ago, he began a campaign for “Gamers Against Bigotry,” asking people to sign a pledge supporting more positive behavior. The site received 1,500 pledges before it was hacked, erasing its list of names.

Like Ms. Sarkeesian, many women gamers are documenting their experiences on blogs like “Fat, Ugly or Slutty” (whose name comes from the typical insults women receive while playing against others online). It cheekily catalogs the slurs, threats and come-ons women receive while playing games like Resident Evil or Gears of War 3.

The blog publishes screenshots and voice recordings that serve as a kind of universal citation in each new controversy, called upon to settle debates or explode myths. For instance, many of the site’s recordings feature deep voices captured from the chat features of online games, debunking the widely held belief that bad behavior begins and ends with 13-year-old boys.

Jessica Hammer, a longtime player of video games and a researcher at Columbia University, said the percentage of women playing such games online ranges from 12 percent to close to half, depending on the game type. Industry statistics from the Entertainment Software Association say 47 percent of game players are women, but that number is frequently viewed as so all-encompassing as to be meaningless, bundling Solitaire alongside Diablo III.

Women report greater levels of harassment in more competitive games involving strangers. Some abandon anonymous play for safer communities or “clans” where good behavior is the norm.

In other game communities, however, sexual threats, taunts and come-ons are common, as is criticism that women’s presence is “distracting” or that they are simply trying to seek attention. Some have been offered money or virtual “gold” for online sex. Some have been stalked online and in person.

Stephen Toulouse, who was the head of enforcement for Xbox Live from 2007 until February, policed the most egregious behavior on the network, owned by Microsoft. And women were the most frequent target of harassment, he said. In that role, Mr. Toulouse experienced the wrath of angry gamers firsthand, who figured out where he lived, then called the police with false reports about trouble at his house (more than once, SWAT teams were sent).

If players were reported for bad behavior, they could be disciplined by being muted on voice chat or barred temporarily. At least once a day, Mr. Toulouse said, the company blocked a specific console’s serial number from ever accessing the network again.

But policing the two or three million players who are active on Xbox Live at any given time is hard. Just as on the broader Internet, there are people who delight in piquing anger or frustration in others, or “trolling.” For trolls, offensive language — sexist, racist, homophobic comments — are interchangeable weapons that vary with the target.

“They treat the Internet like a vast game,” where offending others scores points, Mr. Toulouse said. But the standard advice to ignore the taunts (“don’t feed the trolls”) is now, in the wake of Ms. Sarkeesian’s treatment, being accompanied by discussions about “how to kill a troll.” And many people are calling for the gaming industry to do more.

James Portnow, a game designer who has worked on titles including Call of Duty and Farmville, wrote an episode about harassment for his animated Web series “Extra Credits.” In it, the narrator says: “Right now, it’s like we gave the school bully access to the intercom system and told him that everyone would hear whatever he had to say. It’s time we take away that megaphone.”

At the end of the video, viewers were encouraged to e-mail Microsoft’s Xbox Live’s team, asking for changes to communication tools and improvements to reporting systems.

After hearing from gamers, Microsoft called Mr. Portnow and invited him to headquarters. He met with a team of executives, including a vice president, for four hours, and they discussed how Microsoft was developing better algorithms for things like automatically muting repeat offenders. Microsoft confirmed it was working toward improvements to its community tools.

“For the longest time, people have seen games as a children’s pastime, and we as an industry have stood behind this idea,” said Mr. Portnow, who will be speaking on a gaming convention panel later this month called “Ending Harassment in Gaming.”

“But that’s not true any longer,” he added. “We are a real mass medium, and we have a real effect on the culture. We have to take a step beyond this idea that nothing we could possibly do could be negative, or hurt people.”

    In Virtual Play, Sex Harassment Is All Too Real, NYT, 1.9.2012,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/us/
    sexual-harassment-in-online-gaming-stirs-anger.html

 

 

 

 

 

Rutgers Webcam-Spying Defendant

Is Sentenced to 30-Day Jail Term

 

May 21, 2012

The New York Times

By KATE ZERNIKE

 

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A judge here sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail on Monday for using a webcam to spy on his roommate having sex with a man, a punishment that angered prosecutors and did little to quiet the debate over using laws against hate crimes to fight antigay bias.

His roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, two days after discovering that Mr. Ravi had spied on him in their room at Rutgers University, galvanizing national concern about suicide among gay teenagers.

Mr. Ravi had faced up to 10 years in prison after a jury convicted him of all 15 counts against him, which included bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and tampering with a witness and evidence.

Prosecutors vowed to appeal, and the sentence surprised even many who had called for leniency, as it came after an extended scolding by Judge Glenn Berman in Superior Court in Middlesex County.

“I heard this jury say guilty 288 times — 24 questions, 12 jurors, that’s the multiplication,” the judge told Mr. Ravi, recalling the questionnaire jurors filled out in arriving at the verdict. “And I haven’t heard you apologize once.”

“I do not believe he hated Tyler Clementi,” the judge told a courtroom packed on one side with supporters of Mr. Ravi and on the other with those of the Clementi family. “I do believe he acted out of colossal insensitivity.”

Prosecutors and Mr. Clementi’s family, who had addressed reporters with relief bordering on buoyancy following the verdict two months ago, canceled a news conference planned for after the sentencing. Mr. Ravi’s family collapsed into an embrace with his lawyers. Just moments earlier, his mother, Sabitha Ravi, had sobbed while imploring the judge to spare her son prison time.

“The media misconstrued the facts to the public and misconceptions were formed,” she said, telling how she watched helplessly as her son sank into despair after he was charged and dropped out of Rutgers, barely eating or leaving the house. “All I could do was hug him and cry.”

At her tears, Mr. Ravi himself broke down crying, the first time since the beginning of the trial that he had publicly shown more than a glimpse of emotion.

Mr. Ravi, 20, was not charged with causing Mr. Clementi’s death, but the suicide hung heavily over the trial, and over the sentencing on Monday. Mr. Clementi’s mother, father and brother spoke before the judge delivered his decision, breaking down occasionally as they recalled his accomplishment and his promise, and the pain of losing him and of reliving the agony of his final days as they endured three weeks of courtroom testimony.

“I cannot imagine the level of rejection, isolation and disdain he must have felt from his peers,” Tyler’s brother James Clementi said. “Dharun never bothered to care about the harm he was doing to my brother’s heart and mind. My family has never heard an apology, an acknowledgment of any wrongdoing.”

His mother, Jane Clementi, also criticized students who knew about the spying from Mr. Ravi’s Twitter feeds. “How could they all go along with such meanness?” she said. “Why didn’t any one of them speak up and try to stop it?”

Judge Berman said he wanted to impose a sentence that was “constructive” and would provide a measure of closure — “though I don’t know how the Clementis will ever get closure,” he said. He said he imposed the jail time for witness and evidence tampering and for lying to the police. But for the bias intimidation convictions, he gave Mr. Ravi three years’ probation.

The judge did not explicitly say why he deviated so far from the maximum sentence. But he said he believed the State Legislature had intended prison time to be attached to crimes of violence, and there had been none.

Mr. Ravi’s lead lawyer, Steven Altman, had earlier read from a presentencing memo by a corrections officer who had interviewed Mr. Ravi and recommended against incarceration.

Mr. Ravi, who came to this country from India as a child, remains a felon and could face deportation. But the judge said he would recommend against that.

Gillian M. Christensen, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency was “in the process of reviewing documents relating to the conviction and sentencing” of Mr. Ravi, but would not comment further.

Some immigration lawyers pointed on Monday to a clause declaring that a legal resident, or green card holder, like Mr. Ravi can be deported if convicted of two or more crimes involving “moral turpitude,” as long as neither crime arose out of a single scheme.

Thomas E. Moseley, an immigration lawyer based in Newark, said that if the immigration authorities “wanted to be really aggressive,” they might argue that the tampering crime was separate from the bias crime.

Judge Berman also sentenced Mr. Ravi to 300 hours of community service, counseling about cyberbullying and what he called “alternate lifestyles,” and approximately $11,000 in fees. Most of the money is to be used to help victims of bias crimes.

Mr. Clementi, an 18-year-old who had recently come out to his parents, and Mr. Ravi were three weeks into their freshman year at Rutgers when Mr. Clementi asked if he could have the room for the evening so he could be alone with a man, whom he had met on a Web site for gay men.

In court, prosecutors presented a long trail of electronic evidence to show how Mr. Ravi had set up a webcam to spy on the men, then gone into a friend’s room and watched. He caught only a glimpse of Mr. Clementi and his visitor in an embrace, then sent out Twitter messages announcing that he had seen his roommate “making out with a dude.” He set up the camera again two days later and urged others to watch. But by then, Mr. Clementi had seen the Twitter posts and turned off the webcam.

Mr. Clementi, an accomplished violinist from Ridgewood, N.J., checked Mr. Ravi’s Twitter feed 38 times and filed a request for a room change — and then jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge. In court on Monday, his mother said she feared Mr. Ravi’s Twitter posts were the last thing her son saw before he jumped.

Many gay rights advocates had hailed the jury’s verdict as a bold strike against bias, a message that bullying of gay men and lesbians should not be dismissed as a mere prank.

But other prominent gay commentators argued that while what Mr. Ravi did was repugnant, it was not the kind of sustained or aggressive behavior that constitutes bullying.

The sentence similarly divided them.

Steven Goldstein, the chairman of Garden State Equality, a New Jersey gay rights group that pushed for the state to pass its strict antibullying statutes after Mr. Clementi’s death, said the sentence was lighter than what many shoplifters received.

“We have opposed throwing the book at Dharun Ravi,” Mr. Goldstein said in a statement. “But we have similarly rejected the other extreme, that Ravi should have gotten no jail time at all, and today’s sentencing is closer to that extreme than the other.”

William Dobbs, who had attended rallies supporting Mr. Ravi, said the judge was reflecting the discomfort many gay rights campaigners expressed at the use of hate crimes to prosecute Mr. Ravi.

“The judge had to control a backlash to an out-of-control prosecution,” he said. “The number of charges, the severity and the potential penalties, even the amount of resources devoted to this trial, was out of all proportion to the incident.”

Bruce J. Kaplan, the Middlesex County prosecutor, issued a statement after the sentencing, saying that while his office had not requested the maximum prison term, “it was expected that his conviction on multiple offenses of invading the privacy of two victims on two separate occasions, four counts of bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi, and the cover-up of those crimes would warrant more than a 30-day jail term.”

Still, even some jurors continued to struggle over the appropriate sentence. One, Susan Matiejunas, said she had watched the proceedings on television all morning and was surprised.

“Thirty days is a slap on the wrist,” she said. “Six months to a year would have been more suitable, since we convicted him on so many counts.”

Ms. Matiejunas telephoned later to say she had reconsidered.

“The kid has spent two years in purgatory just waiting for all of this to end,” she said. “I think probably 30 days really is quite enough on top of all that.”

 

Nate Schweber contributed reporting from New Brunswick, and Hannah Miet and Kirk Semple from New York.

Rutgers Webcam-Spying Defendant Is Sentenced to 30-Day Jail Term,
NYT,
21.5.2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/
nyregion/rutgers-spying-defendant-sentenced-to-30-days-in-jail.html

 

 

 

 

In Small Towns,

Gossip Moves to the Web,

and Turns Vicious

 

September 19, 2011
The New York Times
By A. G. SULZBERGER

 

MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. — In the small towns nestled throughout the Ozarks, people like to say that everybody knows everybody’s business — and if they do not, they feel free to offer an educated guess.

One of the established places here for trading the gossip of the day is Dee’s Place, a country diner where a dozen longtime residents gather each morning around a table permanently reserved with a members-only sign for the “Old Farts Club,” as they call themselves, to talk about weather, politics and, of course, their neighbors.

But of late, more people in this hardscrabble town of 5,000 have shifted from sharing the latest news and rumors over eggs and coffee to the Mountain Grove Forum on a social media Web site called Topix, where they write and read startlingly negative posts, all cloaked in anonymity, about one another.

And in Dee’s Place, people are not happy. A waitress, Pheobe Best, said that the site had provoked fights and caused divorces. The diner’s owner, Jim Deverell, called Topix a “cesspool of character assassination.” And hearing the conversation, Shane James, the cook, wandered out of the kitchen tense with anger.

His wife, Jennifer, had been the target in a post titled “freak,” he said, which described the mother of two as, among other things, “a methed-out, doped-out whore with AIDS.” Not a word was true, Mr. and Ms. James said, but the consequences were real enough.

Friends and relatives stopped speaking to them. Trips to the grocery store brought a crushing barrage of knowing glances. She wept constantly and even considered suicide. Now, the couple has resolved to move.

“I’ll never come back to this town again,” Ms. James said in an interview at the diner. “I just want to get the hell away from here.”

In rural America, where an older, poorer and more remote population has lagged the rest of the country in embracing the Internet, the growing use of social media is raising familiar concerns about bullying and privacy. But in small towns there are complications.

The same Web sites created as places for candid talk about local news and politics are also hubs of unsubstantiated gossip, stirring widespread resentment in communities where ties run deep, memories run long and anonymity is something of a novel concept.

A generation ago, even after technology had advanced, many rural residents clung to the party line telephone systems that allowed neighbors to listen in on one another’s conversations. Now they are gravitating toward open community forums online, said Christian Sandvig, an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Something about rural culture seems to make people want to have conversations in public,” said Mr. Sandvig, who has studied the use of social media sites in rural areas.

Topix, a site lightly trafficked in cities, enjoys a dedicated and growing following across the Ozarks, Appalachia and much of the rural South, establishing an unexpected niche in communities of a few hundred or few thousand people — particularly in what Chris Tolles, Topix’s chief executive, calls “the feud states.” One of the most heavily trafficked forums, he noted, is Pikeville, Ky., once the staging ground for the Hatfield and McCoy rivalry.

“We’re running the Gawker for every little town in America,” Mr. Tolles said.

Whereas online negativity seems to dissipate naturally in a large city, it often grates like steel wool in a small town where insults are not easily forgotten.

The forums have provoked censure by local governments, a number of lawsuits and, in one case, criticism by relatives after a woman in Austin, Ind., killed herself and her three children this year. Hours earlier she wrote on the Web site where her divorce had been a topic of conversation, “Now it’s time to take the pain away.”

In Hyden, Ky. (population 365), the local forum had 107 visitors at the same time one afternoon this month. They encountered posts about the school system, a new restaurant and local arrests, as well as the news articles and political questions posted by Topix.

But more typical were the unsubstantiated posts that identified by name an employee at a dentist’s office as a home wrecker with herpes, accused a gas station attendant of being a drug dealer, and said a 13-year-old girl was “preggo by her mommy’s man.” Many allegations were followed with promises of retribution to whoever started the post.

“If names had been put on and tied to what has been said, there would have been one killing after another,” said Lonnie Hendrix, Hyden’s mayor.

Topix, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is owned in part by several major newspaper companies — Gannett, Tribune and McClatchy — but has independent editorial control. It was initially envisioned as a hyperlocal news aggregator with separate pages for every community in the country. But most of its growth was in small cities and towns, and local commenters wanted to shift the conversation to more traditional gossip.

Mr. Tolles acknowledged the biggest problem at the site is “keeping the conversation on the rails.” But he defended it on free-speech grounds. He said the comments are funny to read, make private gossip public, provide a platform for “people who have negative things to say” and are better for business.

At one point, he said, the company tried to remove all negative posts, but it stopped after discovering that commenters had stopped visiting the site. “This is small-town America,” he said. “The voices these guys are hearing are of their friends and neighbors.”

Mr. Tolles also said the site played a journalistic role, including providing a place for whistle-blowing and candid discussion of local politics.

He noted that the Mountain Grove Forum, which had 3,700 visitors on a single day this month, had 1,200 posts containing the word “corruption,” though it was unclear how many of them were true. One resident used the site to rail against local officials, helping build support for a petition-driven state audit of town government.

Topix said it received about 125,000 posts on any given day in forums for about 5,000 cities and towns. Unlike sites like Facebook, which requires users to give their real name, Topix users can pick different names for each post and are identified only by geography. About 9 percent are automatically screened out by software, based on offensive content like racial slurs; another 3 percent — mostly threats and “obvious libel,” Mr. Tolles said — are removed after people complain.

After a challenge from more than 30 state attorneys general, Topix stopped charging for the expedited removal of offensive comments — which Jack Conway, the attorney general for Kentucky, said “smacked of having to pay a fee to get your good name back.”

Despite the screening efforts, the site is full of posts that seem to cross lines. Topix, as an Internet forum, is immune from libel suits under federal law, but those who post could be sued, if they are found.

The company receives about one subpoena a day for the computer addresses of anonymous commenters as part of law enforcement investigations or civil suits, some of which have resulted in cash verdicts or settlements.

But at Dee’s Place, Jennifer James said she did not have enough money to pursue a lawsuit. And even if she did, she said, it would not help.

“In a small town,” Ms. James said, “rumors stay forever.”

In Small Towns, Gossip Moves to the Web, and Turns Vicious,
NYT,
19.9.2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/
us/small-town-gossip-moves-to-the-web-anonymous-and-vicious.html

 

 

 

 

 

Private Moment Made Public,

Then a Fatal Jump

 

September 29, 2010

The New York Times

By LISA W. FODERARO

 

It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

That night, the authorities say, the Rutgers University student who sent the message used a camera in his dormitory room to stream the roommate’s intimate encounter live on the Internet.

And three days later, the roommate who had been surreptitiously broadcast — Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman and an accomplished violinist — jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in an apparent suicide.

The Sept. 22 death, details of which the authorities disclosed on Wednesday, was the latest by a young American that followed the online posting of hurtful material. The news came on the same day that Rutgers kicked off a two-year, campuswide project to teach the importance of civility, with special attention to the use and abuse of new technology.

Those who knew Mr. Clementi — on the Rutgers campus in Piscataway, N.J., at his North Jersey high school and in a community orchestra — were anguished by the circumstances surrounding his death, describing him as an intensely devoted musician who was sweet and shy.

“It’s really awful, especially in New York and in the 21st century,” said Arkady Leytush, artistic director of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, where Mr. Clementi played since his freshman year in high school. “It’s so painful. He was very friendly and had very good potential.”

The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office said Mr. Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, 18, of Plainsboro, N.J., and another classmate, Molly Wei, 18, of Princeton Junction, N.J., had each been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy for using “the camera to view and transmit a live image” of Mr. Clementi. The most serious charges carry a maximum sentence of five years.

Mr. Ravi was charged with two additional counts of invasion of privacy for trying a similar live feed on the Internet on Sept. 21, the day before the suicide. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, James O’Neill, said the investigation was continuing, but he declined to “speculate on additional charges.”

Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group Garden State Equality, said Wednesday that he considered the death a hate crime. “We are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others’ lives as a sport,” he said in a statement.

At the end of the inaugural event for the university’s “Project Civility” campaign on Wednesday, nearly 100 demonstrators gathered outside the student center, where the president spoke. They chanted, “Civility without safety — over our queer bodies!”

It is unclear what Mr. Clementi’s sexual orientation was; classmates say he mostly kept to himself. Danielle Birnbohm, a freshman who lived across the hall from him in Davidson Hall, said that when a counselor asked how many students had known Mr. Clementi, only 3 students out of 50 raised their hands.

But Mr. Clementi displayed a favorite quotation on his Facebook page, from the song “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”: “What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia.”

And his roommate’s Twitter message makes plain that Mr. Ravi believed that Mr. Clementi was gay.

A later message from Mr. Ravi appeared to make reference to the second attempt to broadcast Mr. Clementi. “Anyone with iChat,” he wrote on Sept. 21, “I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it’s happening again.”

Ms. Birnbohm said Mr. Ravi had said the initial broadcast was an accident — that he viewed the encounter after dialing his own computer from another room in the dorm. It was not immediately known how or when Mr. Clementi learned what his roommate had done. But Ms. Birnbohm said the episode quickly became the subject of gossip in the dormitory.

Mr. Clementi’s family issued a statement on Wednesday confirming the suicide and pledging cooperation with the criminal investigation. “Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician,” the statement read. “The family is heartbroken beyond words.”

The Star-Ledger of Newark reported that Mr. Clementi posted a note on his Facebook page the day of his death: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” Friends and strangers have turned the page into a memorial.

Witnesses told the police they saw a man jump off the bridge just before 9 p.m. on Sept. 22, said Paul J. Browne, the New York Police Department’s chief spokesman. Officers discovered a wallet there with Mr. Clementi’s identification, Mr. Browne said.

The police said Wednesday night that they had found the body of a young man in the Hudson north of the bridge and were trying to identify it.

Officials at Ridgewood High School, where Mr. Clementi graduated in June, last week alerted parents of current students that his family had reported him missing and encouraged students to take advantage of counseling at the school.

The timing of the news was almost uncanny, coinciding with the start of “Project Civility” at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey. Long in the planning, the campaign will involve panel discussions, lectures, workshops and other events to raise awareness about the importance of respect, compassion and courtesy in everyday interactions.

Events scheduled for this fall include a workshop for students and administrators on residential life on campus and a panel discussion titled “Uncivil Gadgets? Changing Technologies and Civil Behavior.”

Rutgers officials would not say whether the two suspects had been suspended. But in a statement late Wednesday, the university’s president, Richard L. McCormick, said, “If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university’s standards of decency and humanity.” At the kickoff event for the civility campaign, Mr. McCormick made an oblique reference to the case, saying, “It is more clear than ever that we need strongly to reassert our call for civility and responsibility for each other.”

Mr. Ravi was freed on $25,000 bail, and Ms. Wei was released on her own recognizance. The lawyer for Mr. Ravi, Steven D. Altman, declined to comment on the accusations. A phone message left at the offices of Ms. Wei’s lawyer was not returned.

Some students on the Busch campus in Piscataway seemed dazed by the turn of events, remembering their last glimpse of Mr. Clementi. Thomas Jung, 19, shared a music stand with Mr. Clementi in the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra.

On Wednesday afternoon, hours before Mr. Clementi’s death, the two rehearsed works by Berlioz and Beethoven. “He loved music,” Mr. Jung said. “He was very dedicated. I couldn’t tell if anything was wrong.”


Reporting was contributed by Al Baker, Barbara Gray,

Nate Schweber and Tim Stelloh.

    Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump, NYT, 29.7.2010,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/nyregion/30suicide.html

 

 

 

 

 

Verdict in MySpace Suicide Case

 

November 27, 2008
The New York Times
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

 

LOS ANGELES — A federal jury here issued what legal experts said was the country’s first cyberbullying verdict Wednesday, convicting a Missouri woman of three misdemeanor charges of computer fraud for her involvement in creating a phony account on MySpace to trick a teenager, who later committed suicide.

The jury deadlocked on a fourth count of conspiracy against the woman, Lori Drew, 49, and the judge, George H. Wu of Federal District Court, declared a mistrial on that charge.

Although it was unclear how severely Ms. Drew would be punished — the jury reduced the charges to misdemeanors from felonies, and no sentencing date was set — the conviction was highly significant, computer fraud experts said, because it was the first time that a federal statute designed to combat computer crimes was used to prosecute what were essentially abuses of a user agreement on a social networking site.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Ms. Drew could face up to three years in prison and $300,000 in fines, though she has no previous criminal record. Her lawyer has asked for a new trial.

In a highly unusual move, Thomas P. O’Brien, the United States attorney in Los Angeles, prosecuted the case himself with two subordinates after law enforcement officials in Missouri determined Ms. Drew had broken no local laws.

Mr. O’Brien, who asserted jurisdiction on the ground that MySpace is based in Los Angeles, where its servers are housed, said the verdict sent an “overwhelming message” to users of the Internet.

“If you are going to attempt to annoy or go after a little girl and you’re going to use the Internet to do so,” he said, “this office and others across the country will hold you responsible.”

During the five-day trial, prosecutors portrayed Ms. Drew as working in concert with her daughter, Sarah, who was then 13, and Ashley Grills, a family friend and employee of Ms. Drew’s magazine coupon business in Dardenne Prairie, Mo.

Testimony showed that they created a teenage boy, “Josh Evans,” as an identity on MySpace to communicate with Sarah’s nemesis, Megan Meier, who was 13 and had a history of depression and suicidal impulses.

After weeks of online courtship with “Josh,” Megan was distressed one afternoon in October 2006, according to testimony at the trial, when she received an e-mail message from him that said, “The world would be a better place without you.”

Ms. Grills, who is now 20, testified under an immunity agreement that shortly after that message was sent, Megan wrote back, “You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over.” Megan hanged herself that same afternoon in her bedroom.

Although the jury appeared to reject the government’s contention that Ms. Drew had intended to harm Megan — a notion underlying the felony charges — the convictions signaled the 12 members’ belief that she had nonetheless violated federal laws that prohibit gaining access to a computer without authorization.

Specifically, the jury found Ms. Drew guilty of accessing a computer without authorization on three occasions, a reference to the fraudulent postings on MySpace in the name of Josh Evans.

Legal and computer fraud experts said the application of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, passed in 1986 and amended several times, appeared to be expanding with technology and the growth of social networking on the Internet. More typically, prosecutions under the act have involved people who hack into computer systems.

“Keep in mind that social networking sites like MySpace did not exist until recently,” said Nick Akerman, a New York lawyer who has written and lectured extensively on the act. “This case will be simply another important step in the expanded use of this statute to protect the public from computer crime.”

Other computer fraud experts said they found the verdict chilling.

“As a result of the prosecutor’s highly aggressive, if not unlawful, legal theory,” said Matthew L. Levine, a former federal prosecutor who is a defense lawyer in New York, “it is now a crime to ‘obtain information’ from a Web site in violation of its terms of service. This cannot be what Congress meant when it enacted the law, but now you have it.”

Ms. Drew, who showed little emotion during the trial, sat stone-faced as the clerk read the jury’s verdict and left the courtroom quickly, her face red and twisted with rage.

Her lawyer, H. Dean Steward, said outside the courthouse that he believed the trial was grandstanding by Mr. O’Brien in an effort to keep his job, with the coming change in the White House.

“I don’t have any satisfaction at all,” Mr. Steward said of the verdict.

Judge Wu scheduled a hearing on the request for a new trial for late December.

Since the story surrounding the suicide became public last year, Mr. O’Brien has discussed with his staff how his feelings as a parent motivated him to bring the charges against Ms. Drew. He alluded to those feelings on Wednesday at a news conference.

“This was obviously a case that means a lot to me,” he said.

The case has been a collection of anomalies. Judge Wu appeared ambivalent regarding some key issues at the trial, like whether any testimony about Megan’s suicide would be allowed (he did allow it) and how to rule on a defense motion to throw out the charges (he had not ruled as of Wednesday).

Judge Wu was appointed to the federal bench less than two years ago, and it is difficult to establish his sentencing record. But Mr. Akerman, the computer fraud expert, said jail time was common even for first-time offenders in computer fraud cases.

“If I were her,” he said of Ms. Drew, “I would not be celebrating over the Thanksgiving weekend.”

Tina Meier, Megan’s mother, said in a news conference after the verdict that she hoped Ms. Drew would serve jail time, and that she felt satisfied.

“This day is not any harder than the day when I found Megan,” Ms. Meier said. “This has never been about vengeance. This is about justice. For me it’s absolutely worth it every single day sitting in that court hoping there was justice.”

    Verdict in MySpace Suicide Case, NYT, 27.11.2008,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/27/us/27myspace.html

 

 

 

 

 

Man jailed for Britain's

first "web-rage" attack

 

Fri Nov 17, 2006

10:26 AM ET

Reuters

 

LONDON (Reuters) - A British man convicted of what has been described as the country's first "web-rage" attack, was jailed for 2-1/2 years on Friday for assaulting a man he had exchanged insults with over the Internet.

Paul Gibbons, 47, from south London, admitted he had attacked John Jones in December 2005 after months of exchanging abuse with him via an Internet chatroom dedicated to discussing Islam.

The Old Bailey heard that Gibbons had "taken exception" to Jones, 43, after he had made the claim that Gibbons had been "interfering with children".

After several more verbal and written exchanges -- with Jones threatening to track him down and give him a severe beating -- Gibbons and a friend went to his victim's house in Essex, armed with a pickaxe and machete.

Jones himself was armed with a knife but Gibbons took it off him, held it to his throat and "scratched" him across the neck.

Gibbons, who the court heard had previous convictions for violence, admitted unlawful wounding on the first day of his trial last month.

Other charges of attempted murder and issuing online threats to kill four other chatroom users were not pursued but could be reactivated in future if he reoffends.

Media reports said it was the country's first case of "web-rage" and Judge Richard Hawkins described the circumstances as "unusual".

"This case highlights the dangers of Internet chat rooms, particularly with regards to giving personal details that will allow other users to discover home addresses," said Detective Sergeant Jean-Marc Bazzoni of Essex Police.

Man jailed for Britain's first "web-rage" attack,
R,
17.11.2006,
http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx
type=technologyNews&storyID=2006-11
17T152625Z_01_L17720855_RTRUKOC_0_US-BRITAIN
WEBRAGE.xml&WTmodLoc=Home-C5-technologyNews-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia

 

First Amendment    1791

 

 

technology

 

 

slavery, eugenics,

race relations, racism, civil rights,

apartheid

 

 

violence, gun violence,

abuse, prostitution, sexual violence, rape,

kidnapping, crime, police > UK

 

 

violence, abuse, prostitution,

sexual violence, rape,

kidnapping, crime, police,

arrest, investigation, custody > USA

 

 

gun violence > USA

 

 

drugs > Mexico, UK, USA

 

 

feelings, emotions > frustration, anger, hate