Friday, July 20, 2012

Giving trolls exactly what they want; Well, maybe not exactly.

Nicola Brookes of Brighton, England, had her life upended by the Internet. Trolls publicly attacked the innocent English lady on Facebook. Brookes fought back. She petitioned the high court to force Facebook to release the identities of the trolls and won. Facebook has agreed to comply with the court order.

Brookes plans to bring a private prosecution against at least four alleged Internet trolls. "They wanted a reaction from me and now they have got it," Brookes said.

Internet trolls, like the ones that attacked Brookes, are not brilliant Internet hackers, despite often being portrayed that way in the main stream media. They are cowardly bullies, often attacking people they don't know, emboldened by their poor understanding of the anonymity of the Web.

These bullies are rarely anonymous. Their identities are known, not just publicly. They usually leave an easily followed trail. As I said, these are not brilliant hackers. These are jerks hiding behind the anonymity offered by Facebook or Twitter or the like.

In most cases, Facebook and Twitter know these bullies identities but keep the information guarded for legal reasons. Now, a pattern is emerging showing how to use the courts to pry this information free.

As Brookes so succinctly put it, these folks want "a reaction", they crave attention, let's give them what they want and give it to them in spades.

If you are thinking of setting up an online memorial, check out the linked post by The Cyber Safety Lady: Problems with Trolls and Facebook Memorials and Tribute Pages.

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