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.