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.
Jamila is author of the best-selling Not Just Lucky, a career manifesto for millennial women, and The Motherhood, an anthology of letters about life with a newborn. She is Editor-at-Large of the Nine Network’s Future Women and host of their podcast Future Women Weekly. She's also a regular commentator on The Project, Today, The Drum, Q&A, an occasional host on ABC Melbourne and co-founder of the popular event series Tea with Jam and Clare.
She previously worked in politics for the Rudd and Gillard Governments, advising on issues including media, women, childcare and employment. Jamila is an Ambassador for CARE Australia and board member of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. She has been named as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Jeremy, son Rafi and many loads of clean but regrettably unfolded washing.