PLEDGE NOW
Internet Trolls

From fake hurricane tweets to anonymous online viciousness, we look at the “troll factor” in the national conversation.

The "trollface", first appearing in 2008,[1] is occasionally used to indicate trolling in Internet culture. (Photo illustration)

The “trollface”, which first appeared in 2008, is occasionally used to indicate trolling in Internet culture. (Photo illustration)

News from the world of Internet trolls lately.  In the midst of Hurricane Sandy, of emergency and life and death, trolls on Twitter posting false reports of power outage and crisis where it wasn’t.

In the midst of online site Reddit, a mega-troll and pedophile promoter, unveiled.  Outed.  The migration of so much of our national conversation to the web has opened a door to the troll – the anonymous prankster bully vandal derailer of discourse.  Trolls say wait a minute, we’ve got a point.  Do they?

This hour, On Point:  Internet trolls.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jonathan ZittrainProfessor of Law at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He’s the author of The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It.

Whitney Phillips, lecturer on digital culture at New York University. A “digital ethnographer,” she wrote her dissertation on internet trolls. You can read her blog here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Gawker “His speciality is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed, all on the sprawling online community Reddit. At the time I called Brutsch, his latest project was moderating a new section of Reddit where users posted covert photos they had taken of women in public, usually close-ups of their asses or breasts, for a voyeuristic sexual thrill. It was called “Creepshots.” Now Brutsch was the one feeling exposed and it didn’t suit him very well.”

Business Insider “An influential netizen came under angry scrutiny Tuesday after dramatic information he announced on his widely-followed Twitter account at the peak of deadly superstorm Sandy was found to be false.”

CNN “Days after the Gawker article, Brutsch agreed to talk exclusively to CNN on camera at a hotel room in Fort Worth, about six miles from his home. He said his employer fired him after the Gawker article. He had worked there for seven years.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 6, 2015
An armed police officer stands guard on a road near the Curtis Culwell Center where a provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad was held Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Garland, Texas. The contest was put on lockdown Sunday night and attendees were being evacuated after authorities reported a shooting outside the building. (AP)

An art show featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Two would-be killers gunned down. Free speech – hate speech – where’s the line?

May 6, 2015
Students at Reed College in Portland, Ore. burn their senior thesis in the college's annual Renn Fayre, shown here in May 2014. (Reed College)

It’s that time of year – when tired college seniors across the country turn in their theses. We’ve got a great group sharing their labors of love.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 5, 2015
One of the main characters in Anthony Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See" spends part of her childhood in the Paris Museum of Natural History (WikiCommons)

Anthony Doerr just won the Pulitzer Prize for his bestselling book “All the Light We Cannot See.” He joins us.

 
May 5, 2015
raqi security forces and allied Shiite militiamen prepare to attack Islamic State extremists in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  (AP)

Fresh upheaval in Iraq. Millions now displaced. Warnings of crisis and worse to come.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
On Pointers Share Their College Senior Thesis Topics
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A collection of On Point staffers share their own memories of college thesis research and writing from back when it mattered to them.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 01, 2015
Friday, May 1, 2015

What happens when we change show topics last minute, and also what happens when a New York Times headline seems to accuse Kristie Alley of being responsible for the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures.

More »
4 Comments
 
How To Help The Survivors Of Nepal’s Devastating Earthquake
Friday, May 1, 2015

Where and how to contribute aid to the relief effort in Nepal.

More »
5 Comments