Real talk: bullies, trolls and the troll tax

Michaela Smiley (Thayer) , Mozilla, Internet Citizen, Aug 16, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The comparison of trolls with bullies is apt. "Imagine a walk home from school filled with fear. Imagine you feel the fear because of a bully. Now imagine your bully is online — and this bully, a troll, can get to you any time of day." I grew up with that experience and I learned that the only way to stop a bully is to fight back. But what if they enjoy fighting? Once you start fighting there's no way to stop. Trolls, like bullies, can't be ignored. They will poison the environment, the way they've poisoned social media today. The only way to stop them is to deny them a platform; the only way to stop bullies is to deny them access to the neighbourhood. That's why we put criminals in jail. And that's why we deny trolls a platform. Swift and automatic deletion of hate from social media platforms is the only way to keep social media platforms free of hate. Doing anything else is just a tacit admission that we're fine with it and can live with the consequences. 

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