The CBC doesn’t seem to consider internet harassment just “drama” or “playing the victim card” or similar. The CBC takes it seriously enough to report on it, at least.
An Alberta man found out just how ugly an online debate can become when someone hijacked his identity and went on a crude Facebook rampage.
He joined a Facebook page about preserving an Edmonton airport – whoa, controversial, right?! – and things got heated.
One of the users started harassing him, using profane language, so Ken blocked him.
This only angered the man and he recreated Ken’s Facebook profile, stealing his real profile pictures, his name and even where he worked.
The man then started posting racist, homophobic and exceptionally crude things under Ken’s name. One status claimed Ken was a rapist.
I thought everybody was allowed to do that. I thought that was “humor” – “parody” – “satire” – “lighthearted joking.” No?
Ken said he repeatedly reported the problem to Facebook. He asked dozens of Facebook friends to report the fake profile, but claims the company did nothing.
That’s Facebook. Facebook – unlike CBS – Doesn’t Care.
Steph Guthrie, who makes her living as an online activist but specializes in outing internet trolls who harass behind the cloak of anonymity, said she sees situations like Ken’s all too often.
“Harassment is unfortunately extremely common on the internet,” she said.
“The identity thefts side of things is maybe less common, but it’s definitely one of those key tools in an internet harasser’s arsenal.”
She said stealing someone’s identity is illegal, but Facebook rarely bothers to act.
Guthrie said police tend to prioritize investigations with financial or physical threat, so people just suffer in harassment cases, which can harm their well-being and reputation.
Yes but you see that’s their problem because they are out in public. If they weren’t out in public, the harassers wouldn’t know about them, so obviously it’s their own fault that they’re being harassed.
Facebook finally shut down the fake page today after being contacted by CBC News.
Ah well done Facebook! Do nothing for two years – and react only when the CBC taps you on the shoulder. You lying shits.
Account co-ordinator Claire LaRocca said the social media company takes the privacy of their users’ information very seriously.
“It is a violation of our policies to use a fake name or operate under a false identity, and we provide resources for both users and non-users to report false accounts through our Help Centre,” she said.
That is a shameless lie. Just ask my friend EllenBeth Wachs.