Activists turn trolls’ abusive messages into billboards near their houses

“Recently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer announced it had turned off comments on stories about Tamir Rice because ‘just about every piece we published about Tamir immediately became a cesspool of hateful, inflammatory or hostile comments,'” according to Alternet.

“The Montana Standard shared plans to end commenter anonymity, retroactively and going forward, due to ‘posters who consistently offer destructive and noxious comments.’ A 2014 study found roughly seven racist tweets are sent every minute, which equals about 10,000 per day. And in recognition of just how much vitriolic racism exists on the video platform, satirical newspaper the Onion headlined an article ‘YouTube Reaches 1 Trillion Racist Comments.’

“Now, in an effort to combat the endless racism spewed by anonymous online trolls, a Brazilian group is putting those bigoted messages on billboards and placing them near the posters’ homes. The Virtual Racism, Real Consequences campaign began after Maria Julia Coutinho, a black weather reporter on one of the country’s most popular programs, became the target of numerous racist social media messages. The hateful words came in response to the posting of Coutinho’s photo on the program’s Facebook page this past July 3—which, ironically, is Brazil’s annual National Day to Combat Racial Discrimination.

“Criola, a civil rights group led by Afro-Brazilian women, began geotagging the messages to identify the locations from which the writers published their posts. Armed with an address, they began posting each racist message on a billboard near the poster’s house—though they pixelated avatars and screen names. The goal is twofold: to suggest to those hiding behind their computer screens that their anonymity isn’t as secure as they thought, and to broadcast how damaging these messages are.

“‘Those people [who post abuse online] think they can sit in the comfort of their homes and do whatever they want on the Internet,’ Jurema Werneck, the founder of Criola, said in an interview with the BBC. ‘We don’t let that happen. They can’t hide from us, we will find them.'”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

8 thoughts on “Activists turn trolls’ abusive messages into billboards near their houses”

  1. From Todd Juvinall’s blog:
    “AnonymousDecember 3, 2015 at 12:56 PM
    Did not see Frisch in the picture of the Niko Wu’s fund raiser in the union. Those willing to be in the picture told a real Nevada city story. How soon will we see a fund raiser for ruinits socialist taco stand? ROFLOL”

    Why would Todd clear such a comment? What kind of person is Todd? What kind of person is “anonymous”? Seriously, think about them being part of our community. What an embarrassment to all of us. (And what an embarrassment for the Union to have them as a subscriber).

    1. A Socialist taco stand? Are there fascist taco stands too? What about Nazi taco stands? Ah, capitalist taco stands, LOL!

  2. “Why would Todd clear such a comment? ”

    Because like attracts like. Whats not to understand. They both live under rocks. And I do believe that Anonymous is “rolling on the floor laughing out load” loving his own slimey and pathological “humor”. These are not “normal” human beings. They represent the underbelly of humanity, and they represent the present “base” of the GOP. Sickness loves company.

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