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Thursday 30 August 2012

Charlotte Dawson, internet 'trolls', and why trolls are so nasty

UPDATED: Charlotte Dawson was hospitalised early this morning following relentless Twitter abuse, which has been re-posting on her own Twitter page @MsCharlotteD

Early this morning she posted this:

Hope this ends the misery ..

With Tweets saying simply "You win x" and "Hope this ends the misery .." posted around 2.30am, she has not Tweeted since.

A spokeswoman for Dawson's management said today: "She is in hospital and she is OK."

A St Vincent's Hospital spokesman said 46-year-old Dawson was in the hospital in Sydney's Darlinghurst, and was expected to make a "full recovery".

"She has asked that her privacy be respected," he said. "She is sitting up in bed and she's in good hands."

Police said they were called to an inner city Sydney residence early today. An ambulance spokesman said they also responded to a call to help a woman at 3.05am.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/top-stories/charlotte-dawson-in-hospital-after-twitter-attack/story-e6frfkp9-1226461526394#ixzz24zcpIJlo


Watching the coverage of internet trolling - the act of oft-anonymous people posting nasty comments on others' sites and social media pages - directed towards Sydney-dwelling Charlotte Dawson has been quite breathtaking. And obviously not in a good way.

Charlotte has been subjected to an extraordinary amount of online insults, directed to her on her Twitter account, by complete strangers. She takes the extreme, yet simple and clever action of re-Tweeting the nastiest ones.

But today, it all took a turn for the worse - for the trollers, that is.

Charlotte hit back by researching her most fierce, most mean troller to date... then exposing her... as a woman who works in a mentoring job at Monash University.

Tanya Heti is that woman, and she was directed to take leave with pay over the "troll" scandal, after Dawson reported a series of abusive tweets to her employers, Monash University.

The woman at the centre of it all tells Charlotte and one of her Twitter followers to "go hang yourself"; she has now been suspended from her job.

Charlotte - the Foxtel start most notably known her for role in 'Australia's Next Top Model' - used a business card Heti had posted online to actually phone and speak to the woman, while challenging her attacks on Melbourne fan and Twitter follower Bernadette Casey, after she defended Dawson from an earlier suicide taunt.

Casey revealed she had lost her partner Kevin to suicide, then was set upon by Heti who tweeted: "If I was your fiance I'd hang myself too #gohangyourself."

Dawson said the disciplinary action was "an important lesson in consequences when people decide to mock or encourage suicide".

Just a few months ago I wrote about 'Little Britain' star Matt Lucas leaving Twitter after horrendous comments about his deceased partner: http://josiesjuice.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/social-media-nastiness-matt-lucas-quits.html

One thing is certain: trolls thrive on attention.

In an article I have just been reading in the July 2012 edition of Glamour magazine titled "Confessions of a troll", the sidebox gives tips on what to do if you are trolled. Not replying is top of the list.

But for Charlotte, it's a way to teach them a lesson and expose the nastiness. The tweeted messages to Charlotte are utterly out of control. You can follow Charlotte on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MsCharlotteD

What would you do?

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