The Wheeler Centre
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The Age of Hostility: Investigating Internet Trolling
‘Don’t feed the trolls’ – it’s the conventional wisdom of the internet. But who are the trolls? What motivates them? And, beyond ignoring them, how do we limit the destruction they wreak on people’s lives?
These are the questions Ginger Gorman started asking after she herself became the target of an online hate campaign. In 2013, the investigative journalist received hateful and abusive messages, including a death threat, in response to a story she broadcast on the ABC. This harrowing experience led her to a five-year investigation of the nature and impact of trolling itself, including interviews with psychologists, police, trolling victims and, perhaps most importantly, trolls themselves. She learned about highly organised global trolling syndicates, the economic cost of internet hate campaigns, and the failure of the legal system to hold trolls accountable.
In conversation with Jamila Rizvi, Gorman discusses anonymity, misogyny and the psychology of cyber-sabotage.
Ginger Gorman is an award-winning social justice journalist based in Canberra, Australia.
In 2013, Ginger and her family suffered the effects of online hate first-hand, and it was this experience that set Ginger on her professional journey into the world of trolls. In 2017, her series of articles on trolling for Fairfax newspapers in Australia went viral, and became some of the most read Australian stories of the year. She is now in demand as an expert on online hate, and has written and spoken extensively about trolling and social media self-defence in Australian and global contexts.
‘Being a feminist is about more than a cute slogan on a t-shirt, it’s about more than your own personal identity. It’s about being part of and contributing to an ongoing movement.’
Jamila is Editor-at-Large of Future Women and a weekly columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age. She has published two best-selling books Not Just Lucky and The Motherhood. Rizvi is also a regular commentator on The Project, Today, The Drum, Q&A, and an occasional host on ABC Radio Melbourne. She previously worked in politics for the Rudd and Gillard Governments, advising on issues including media, women, childcare, and employment. Rizvi is an Ambassador for CARE Australia and board member of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.