Nobody's immune to the wonderful presence of an Internet troll.
As long as you have Twitter, Instagram, or other social media accounts, you're at risk. The hate comments can be overwhelming, and, unlike an altercation face to face, you don't feel scared. You feel empowered.
You can bash your haters with just a few clicks of your keyboard. Whether you're telling him to buzz off or using an emoji or two to express your anger, you feel like you're standing up to the bully. However, you could just be prodding him to take a step further.
The argument can become deadly.
Anger has no limits, especially when the guy's already pissed off. For all you know, he's the professional hacker or, maybe, he's a predator just waiting for his next victim.
You thought you were just defending your favorite singer, yet he had much more sinister plans in mind, like sending death threats. However, even the f*ckboy of the Internet can be just as harmful. He could've sent you a message (e.g., Kill yourself.) to ruffle your feathers or rile you up, yet you could've taken his words literally. At the very least, he's giving you just one more reason to cut, drink, starve, or practice another form of self-injury.
Unfortunately, cyberbullying is too common, especially in the United States. Even though you can't stop the trolls under the imaginary bridge, you don't have to be one of their billy goats. (Kudos to you if you got this reference.) Instead, you can just stay away by playing safe...beyond a troll's reach.
15 Accusing A Councillor Of Pedophilia
Beyond the glitz and glamour of a white-collar position, members of council can still face backlash beyond their imagination...or own colleagues.
Twitter is also a place where people can voice their concerns, even if the concerns have zero to do with the person's job. Robert Ambridge, a 53-year-old recruitment consultant who is also a dad to six children, went by the Twitter handle "Old Holborn." Even though the man was a professional (not to mention a father), he still made wisecracks that you'd expect any 14-year-old to make.
However, beyond his floundering attempts at comedy, he was also an avid fan of hurling accusations meant to defame and harm his victims. When he accused Councillor Jake Morrison of pedophilia, Ambridge took his trolling too far.
14 Police Officer And His Cyberbullying Side Job
The quintessential Internet troll probably lives with his mother, has no job, and eats ice cream all day. Don't forget about the splattered stains of mustard on his wife-beater, too.
However, the reality is that anybody can be a troll no matter who you are, where you're from, or what you do for a living. Even law enforcement can be a part of the problem, and not the solution. Just look at Lee Rimell, a police officer who was hellbent on destroying one woman's life. Nicola Brookes had a daughter who loved Frankie Cocozza, one of the competitors of the 2011 season's The X-Factor.
When Brookes "posted a message of support on Facebook," she received intense waves of hate that continued for two years. Rimell was a major part of said hate. Even though she went to court, Rimell just got a slap on the wrist. He was still able to work with the West Midlands Police.
13 'R*ped By Dogs' Threat
Stephen King's not scary, but Benjanun Sriduangkaew is terrifying.
The science fiction enthusiast was rolling in success with several of her stories published in lauded magazines dedicated to science fiction. However, even praise and acclaim were not enough to quell Sriduangkaew's appetite. She sought fame outside of her craft. She took to online personas to unleash her inner beast. She created a LiveJournal account to spew her hatred under the alias Winterfox, but she also created a blog This Requires Only That You Hate.
When she was taking a break from her day job, she was trolling feminists, survivors of s*xual abuse, people of color, and fellow authors, like Cindy Pon and N.K. Jemisin. The women's supporters received hate, too. Sriduangkaew actually wanted one of the ladies' fans to get "raped by dogs." Her outlandish comments led her to delete her blog, yet she still writes her stories. Don't read them.
12 Another 'Nimrod' On The Internet
If you're still reading this article, then congratulations, you're about to read another blurb to make you lose all hope in humanity. Proceed with caution.
Facebook's "Nimrod Severn" was really Darren Burton, a man who worked on railroads for a living. However, in his spare time, he enjoyed making fun of the deceased. He'd lurk on a few tribute pages to see if anyone had passed away. If he was lucky enough, the pages were updated. He'd leave a nasty comment that meant to harm the families while disrespecting the dead.
He usually commented offensive one-liners like "Rot in piss," which meant to replace the epitaph "Rest in peace." However, if a person of color passed away, he would take his hate to the next level by throwing in a slur or two. Instead of showing remorse when caught, the guy just used freedom of speech as his excuse.
11 Fitch The Snitch
Instead of attacking a person, Charles Fitch chose to attack eBay and company.
With a Guy Fawkes mask on to hide his face, Fitch created a YouTube channel in order to bash eBay. However, he also frequented eBay by placing the highest bids, not buying what he won and then writing the auctioneer a few choice words. Fitch became so troublesome that even a news station got involved. A private investigator was hired.
Needless to say, Fitch was soon found. He feigned innocence by saying that he was doing nothing illegal, but enforcing justice by "exposing scammers." However, he also said that he was a victim of a scammer, too. He blamed Joe DeMarco, a man who was known as the eBay regular "Hubcap Joe." Fitch was so upset that he even tried to take DeMarco to court so he could get protection. Fitch was unsuccessful in his attempt to get a PPO, or personal protection order. (Legend says that Hubcap Joe still surfs the eBay chat rooms to this very day.)
10 Not All Superheroes Wear Capes, But All Villains Lurk the Web
When you're asking people what they like to do for fun, you're expecting a cliché, like long walks on the beach. You're not expecting somebody to talk about how they love to harass the families of deceased children.
Unless you've met Sean Duffy, a 25-year-old who enjoys victimizing loved ones who have lost their daughter, son, niece or nephew. When a 16-year-old Haley Bates died in a car wreck, he went to Facebook to Photoshop stitches on her mouth and an X on each of her eyes. He did the same to other girls who died, too. When young teenager Lauren Drew died of an epileptic fit, he sent a picture of a coffin to her mother with the message "Happy Mother's Day." He went on to send similar photos of two other children, one who died by murder and the other who died by suicide. Families were devastated but, at least, Duffy was taken to court.
He got close to five months in jail, and he was sentenced to 300 hours of community service. However, the best part was him being banned from social media for five years.
9 Reddit Baits An Audience That Bites
With a Reddit co-founder expecting his first child with tennis legend Serena Williams, the past has been long forgotten. However, one incident in 2012 is still etched in minds across America.
A man named Michael Brutsch had everything. He had a nice home, wife, and career, but he lived a much darker lifestyle on the worldwide web. Under his username "violentacrez," he was a moderator for several of Reddit's forums like "Pics of Dead Kids," "Jewmerica," "Chokeabitch," "Rapebait," and "Jailbait," which was his the most offensive and disturbing forum to date.
The particular section was dedicated to the showing of "underage girls often in bathing suits." When Anderson Cooper criticized Reddit and violentacrez, Gawker decided to do more research. The blog eventually found Brutsch, the man behind the screen. He went viral, but his publicity left him without his job and house, not to mention health insurance for his ailing wife.
8 An Internet Troll Gone Rogue
Everybody's had to deal with at least one troll, but their issues usually never go past their computer screens. Well, one man has a unique experience that is much different than the rest.
William Moreno, a collegiate at Virginia Commonwealth University, went by the alias "Mr. Misery" in the online forum Fairfax Underground. While Moreno "suffers from depression and a mild form of autism," his struggles were no match for the content he created, like his "inappropriate comments about 9/11 and child molestation." In short, people were going to get upset. Moreno was eventually forced to leave the forum.
However, even after he was no longer a part of the platform, veteran Michael Josef Basl kept in close contact with him. He sent Moreno an unsettling email, but he might've also defamed his character, not to mention endangered his family's safety. Basl maintained his innocence, regardless.
7 Jesus Christ...
If you're a Christian, cool. If you're an atheist, cool.
Between world hunger, ISIS, and North Korea (just to name a few), nobody should care what religion (or lack thereof) a person holds dear. However, the small things seem big when there's little to do in life. David Mabus, a man living in Canada, created his Twitter account so he could gleefully bully anyone who was an atheist, in particular. He targeted people like Tim Farley, but he also "continued his harassment with hundreds of accounts used to threaten anyone who doubted the existence of God."
He just seemed unstoppable but, after a petition of complaints, police finally got involved. They tracked down Mabus, a man who's actually Dennis Markuze, a person "with a history of mental health problems." He went to court, but due to his mental illnesses, he was able to dodge jail time and community service.
6 Twitter, Suicide And Murder?
What could Twitter possibly have in common with such a dark subject matter?
Even though the online platform is a place that breeds trolls, suicide and murder seem a bit too extreme. However, all three are still intertwined. When Kate and Gerry McCann lost their daughter, Madeleine, during their Portugal vacation, people were quick to blame them. The little girl disappeared without a trace, so even law enforcement figured the McCanns were responsible for Madeleine's murder.
However, they were soon cleared and they were no longer seen as suspects. Their child is still lost today, and, while the parents are still in mourning, other individuals are quick to point fingers at them, particularly Brenda Leyland. She already had a Twitter account, yet a fifth of her tweets were about the McCann family. She really thought that the mother and father were responsible for their daughter's disappearance. Unfortunately, Leyland passed away soon after she was exposed. She committed suicide.
5 A Snake, Or A Sensation?
Who says Internet trolls have to be human?
According to a New York Post article, a venomous cobra escaped its confinement to slither away into the night for a brighter day...or computer screen. Yes, the snake actually has an account on Twitter now. His popularity is skyrocketing, too. In just one day, he's managed to get 1,500 followers.
Between his quirky interests in CrossFit and brie, the cobra's deadly appearance is melting the hearts of people everywhere. Is he really as poisonous as people think, or is he just one of those misunderstood reptiles? After all, his Twitter bio does read, "Cold blood. Warm heart. Tight style." While the Twitter account is definitely unique and creative, everyone should be wary. No matter who's behind the keyboard, one thing's for sure.
A cobra is on the loose, so Floridians better sleep with one eye open.
4 'It's [Not] Just A Game'
Anita Sarkeesian is an unapologetic feminist, yet her trolls are unapologetic a*sholes.
When she started a YouTube series called Tropes vs. Women, her intent was to highlight the misogyny within video games. She made her point, and her point was further proved by the incessant emails, comments, and threats that she received. Not only was she at an alarming risk, but so were her family and friends. Nobody in her inner circle was safe.
The cyberbullying was so horrendous that she even stayed at her friend's house. She also alerted authorities, particularly when one person kept sending her horrific threats of rape and torture. While her YouTube channel is still up, nobody can leave a comment under a video of hers. The never-ending attacks were on loop for a while; but now, she looks like she's doing much better.
The haters are just her motivators.
3 Sending R*pe Threats To A Five-Year-Old
Jessica Valenti is a talented author who just happens to be a self-proclaimed feminist, yet she's also a mother. Her daughter is barely in kindergarten, yet she is being harassed by Internet trolls too.
Last year, Valenti went to Twitter to vent her frustrations. She deactivated her account when anonymous people were sending her horrendous threats that were meant for her daughter. Trolls were basically sending "rape and death threats" to a freaking five-year-old. What the hell, people!? Valenti shared the same sentiment.
"Law enforcement needs to get their sh*t together on online threats. Social media companies need to f*cking do something," she tweets.
Trolling just went to a whole new level, and no matter what people think of Valenti's opinions, they should keep their comments to themselves. Did their mothers ever say, "Keep your comments to yourself if you have nothing nice to say!"?
2 Milo Yiannopoulos
If you like Milo Yiannopoulos, then I'd go read a Breitbart News article.
Just a few months ago, Yiannopoulos proved he was more than an editor at a popular publication. He proved he was one of the biggest trolls alive. After the new Ghostbusters movie debuted, he took to Twitter to target Leslie Jones, one of the film's actresses. "AT LEAST THE NEW GHOSTBUSTERS HAS A HOT BLACK GUY IN IT," he tweets.
His offensive remark went viral, and Jones received a barrage of hateful comments. She even deactivated her Twitter, which left thousands of people distraught. "I leave twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart," she writes.
Unfortunately, the controversial personality is known for his spiteful commentary. He's even been accused of being every name in the book (e.g., racist and xenophobic), but he's really proud of his status. He even wants people to be like him.
Please don't feed the troll.
1 An Antisemitic Who Really Hates His Candidate
Luciana Berger was unable to escape harmful threats, though. She was a hopeful politician looking to be the mayor of Liverpool yet her troll, John Nimmo, was hellbent on crushing her dream. He sent death threats and told her she would be "shot and stabbed" like Jo Cox, a fellow British politician.
Obviously, the threats scared her. She went to the police, and they soon arrested Nimmo, a man who was Islamophobic, not to mention one heck of a creep. Before he was caught, the guy had been harassing other women too.