You may want to think twice before posting something caustic on Twitter.
There’s a new community stepping up to help protect female journalists from online harassment, and they’re called TrollBusters.
The online service, or ‘online pest control for women writers’, is meant to help combat trolls who attack and threaten females on a regular basis.
Basically, if a writer is experiencing harassment on Twitter, they can report the incident on the TrollBusters’ site and within an hour or so, volunteers or staff will respond by ‘firing a warning shot’. The woman behind the idea, Michelle Ferrier, told The Daily Dot that this means they will tweet something at the person who reported the incident to let them know the TrollBusters are there and ready to look out for her.
Ferrier said the idea came about eight years ago when she was forced to quit her job as a newspaper columnist and move to a different state after she was targeted by racist hate mail. She managed to turn a traumatic experience into an empowering one, though, and now runs the 24/7 digital tool.
She put TrollBusters into play while Gamergate – an organised backlash by male gamers against female gamers and journalists – was in full swing.
She told The Daily Dot:
Here I am watching all this Gamergate stuff on my Facebook feed, and it started triggering my own emotions about what happened to me.
And in the same anonymous way it happened to me, it was driving women’s voices out of journalism. So I proposed the anti-Gamergate solution.
Almost two-thirds of women journalists have experienced threats, abuse or intimidation in relation to their work, with more than 25 per cent of that taking place online, according to the International Women’s Media Foundation and International News Safety Institute. And Pew Research Centre say 25 per cent of young women have been sexually harassed online.
This is definitely something that a lot of women will get behind.