Here comes the lynch mob [the online edition]

To be honest, I got second thoughts about publishing this blogpost. I was afraid to come across as complaintive, attention seeking or putting myself in the victim role. I don’t see myself as someone who likes being a victim, but in this case I was the one being bullied. And I feel that I need to tell my story, so it can help someone else that is or has been in a similar situation.

As I read through my story facing “intellectual” bullying and the lynch mob, my stomach turns just thinking about it. The negative feelings become real again and translate into stress in my head. I want to shut it down, forget about it and don’t look back. That will happen in the end of this blogpost. But there is another voice within me saying that my story is important to tell. And it shouts louder than my weariness and the urge to keep it to myself.

So here you go…

Every day social media platforms are used to debate and discuss topics. This promotes learning, understanding and innovation.

Both debating and disagreeing about something is acceptable. However, cyber bullying or lynch mobbing someone who has a different opinion is NOT OK!

What is Cyber Bullying?

Wikipedia defines cyberbullying as“Cyberbullying is the use of information technology to repeatedly harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner. According to U.S. Legal Definitions, Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.”

 

What is this “Intellectual” Bullying that I am talking about?

Intellectual bullying is the same thing, it just comes in a different wrapping. It happens when all or most of your arguments are belittled, twisted and used against you in order to defame and humiliate your character and person, decrease the weight of your voice and / or ridicule your statement(s). Usually this is not done by “typical trolls” but by “intelligent” people who use such tactics to “win” arguments.

 

The Lynch Mob

The popular scenario of the Lynch Mob is taken from the Western movies. A bunch of cowboys hanging out in a bar (over-) hearing loose and unconfirmed rumours about what someone across the prairie did. This resulting that they get more and more  worked up, and without having any legitimate information, they decided to find that poor guy, drag him across the prairie into town and hang him publicly without a judge or jury or a sheriff involved.

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Source: Wikipedia, Copyright: Public Domain

 

«Lynching, as a form of punishment for presumed criminal offenses, performed by self-appointed commissions, mobs, or vigilantes without due process of law».  Wikipedia 

The mentality of the “intellectual” bully

The bully seems to have these underlying issues:

  • They would never admit being wrong even if it is obvious
  • They will take your words and twist them against you in order to hide his/her own mistakes
  • Hurting people projects their hurt and passes it on to other people
  • They elevate by putting other people down
  • The harrasment they can’t get away with offline, they will bring online
  • Their ego is not their amigo -and that will become your biggest problem

 

I have had my encounters with such bullies – here is my story.

So this is what happened recently:

I posted two posts in a Faceboook group for Social Media enthusios (both professionals and non-professionals).

The group doesn’t have any other rules than sharing social media topics with each other in a respectful manner. (That should be easy, right?)

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My first link were about: techcrunch.com’s latest post about video as a Facebook profile picture. The second post I posted was inquiring for the release date of the new iPhone 6s in my country, knowing that the iPhone 6+ (the older version) could have been bought on sale when the new iPhone comes in the stores, and I was asking if anyone had experience with the iPhone 6+ as I have heard it has a great camera for video blogging and use for visual platforms as Pinterest. Having a bigger screen simplifyes the work with on social media. Hence, asking in the social media group for a social media worker point of view.

 

But the posts were removed (!)

In the middle of discussing the posts with a few other people, the posts were removed from the group…(!)

So I posted a new post asking why my posts were deleted? Remembering that last time I posted a month earlier, some of my comments were deleted to..

After a while, an admin answered.

The admin answered that I couldn’t post the Techcrunch post, because someone (out of 8000 + members) had posted it earlier in a high frequency posting group… (In this group people post the same links multiple times, which has never been a major issue before).

He instructed me to use the search function and I would see that the link would be only 5 posts below mine. This was not the case for me, I did not see it in the group at that time (people are posting all the time).

He also said that the post for my iPhone 6+ question should be posted in an IT.Mac.iOS group (a technical group which answers questions related to Apple hardware, software etc), in other words, not what I was looking for. (Which again was a made up guideline on the go (see screenshot above for what the guidelines says…).

Ironically, this group has spent most of this last year discussing, criticising top bloggers for their income, and there has been many blogpost outing them. Which also has nothing to do with social media, but personally attacking bloggers for what they write about or how much they earn, and how valid their influence should be. Which again has nothing to do with social media..

(Here is what happened last time in the same group when someone asked for THE RULES FOR COMPETITION ON FACEBOOK).

I answered  back to the admin that I didn’t see any other post with the same link as I had and pointed out the fact that Facebook has algorithms    that show different results to different people, which is called personalisation Also, taking in to consideration previously meeting bullies in the same group before, I had to block a few. If they have posted the same link, there is no way I could see that.

To his other argument,  I answered that the other group that he suggested for posting my iPhone 6 + question, was NOT RELEVANT for me as I wanted to reach out to people who work with social media.

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The manipulation begins for real – or had it begun long time ago?

To my replies he answered:

That Facebook groups do NOT have algorithms. 

Ok, so yes that is true, but common somebody! The truth is that Facebook groups have only ONE algorithm  (singular), therefore he ignored my argument…!!   

Instead, he countered my reply with a new and entirely unrelated topic. He wanted to school me about «why overtaking other people’s threads with a new topic in the comments is bad», so it would look like I had misunderstood everything and therefore needed correction. This way, he sidetracked from what the case really was about and confused everyone who came in later that read the post.

He managed also to sidetrack me, not only was I argumenting the original issue, but now I had to argument against the topic the he made up as well.

The lynch mobbers arrived

«Negativity always reflects inner defeat» – Brian houston

Meanwhile, new people who came in and read the thread started to like his comments about: “Facebook groups do not have algorithms and “How to overtake Facebook threads” lesson -and commented against me!

REMEMBER THAT THESE PEOPLE COMMENTING AGAINST ME HAD NOT SEEN THE CONTENT OF THE ORIGINAL POSTS (THAT WERE DELETED HOURS AGO), NEITHER UNDERSTOOD THE MISLEADING OF THE ADMINS ARGUMENTS.

Social proof: The comments were running in, all kinds of people who saw their opportunity to gain brownie points (by getting likes on their comments and therefore social proof to their names). They felt the right to comment against me, saying this was «a group for people who worked with social media» (!!). Some said I had no social antennas, but most people had some kind of arrogant and repetitive message based on the admins argumentations, which again were based on my posts that they had never seen..Some were name calling, other were ridiculing. Many of the comments came from people I had never seen before, despite I had been in this group for 2 years. And when I turned them off, I still got notifications of people “who mentioned me in their comments”. It was Friday, and it had been going on for 2 days now, I had an intense headache. I could feel the negative energy. I was crying. The bullying was real. My questions were never answered.

I was called MANIPULATIVE for confronting.

I was RIDICULED for asking questions about rules that only existed in a man’s head – and executed by his feelings.

I asked if the admin would meet up with me and I could easily explain to him and all the readers what really happened to clear things as this was getting out of hand. I suggested that we would stream on Periscope or make a video about it.

As expected from any “brave” «keyboard-warrior», he promptly declined the invitation and talked about how comfortable he was placed behind his computer, assuring that he was VERY VISIBLE there and that EVERYONE could see who he was, finishing it up with an appeal for people to come in an join in with opinions (in other words recruiting the lynch mob..)

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The admin used his working-time to bully

The admin announced in the thread that he was engaged at work while commenting. That means his work place was paying for his time harassing me. This is a big national tabloid news paper. So I called his boss to explain the situation as I was very upset, in fact shaking and crying. This resulted in that the admin furthered the ridiculing of me in the group, outing me on how stupid it was that I contacted his work place…

I DELETED MY COMMENT AS THE LYNCH MOB ACCUMULATED

For my own health I decided to delete my post about asking «Who deleted my posts?», as the admin had no agenda of making a safe place for me and establish a serious platform for communication, seeking to tidy up any miscommunication etc. The platform was rather used to publicly execute me.

 

YOU MUST BE THINKING …

WHAT IN THE WORLD… IS AN INTELLIGENT AND UPRIGHT WOMAN LIKE YOU DOING IN A FACEBOOK GROUP WITH PEOPLE LIKE THAT?

WHY DIDNT YOU JUST LEAVE THE GROUP? THE TRUTH IS that it is most likely the biggest group in Norway for people who work with social media and communication (how ironic!).

 

How does Internet mobbing take place?

Let’s take a look at the Kardashians…

People think that it is ok to tell the Kardashians how they feel about them and harrass them daily on their own Facebook profiles.

Just because you don’t like someone, it doesn’t give you permission to harrass them!

vanessaraphael-kardash-bullying-01

 

Are there any limits to defaming characters online?

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How are we collecting information online and make them into “truths”?

People are likely to think that if a post has LIKES that means it is true and then they click to LIKE themselves and make up arguments derived from knowledge of other peoples arguments. Is humanity regressing their own intelligence?

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So does a different point of view give you right to be arrogant towards those who see things differently in a matter of debating perspective?

 

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REALLY…? We have to remember that bullying says more about the bully than about the the person being bullied.

 

«The Accused»

Oscar Award winner Jodie Foster played the victim of a gang rape in the film “The Accused” ased on a true story .from 1988. While she was being gang-raped on a pinball machine, a crowd of men were “yelling and clapping”.

Excerpts from the film read: “Kurt has her arms pinned down and the near-sadistic spectators begin chanting “make her moan” and “stick it to her”. Bob proceeds to rape her, followed by Kurt. As Kurt rapes her, the spectators repeatedly chant “One…two…three…four. Poke that xxxx ’til it’s sore”.

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Screenshots: YouTube

As she (the laywer) states, “It is not the crime of criminal solicitation to silently watch a rape. But it is the crime of criminal solicitation to command, induce, entreat or otherwise persuade another person to commit a rape”.

 

My question is: How far is online bullying and liking online bullies’ comments from soliciting rape or even murder?

 

so·lic·it

To commit the criminal offense of enticing or inciting (another) to commit an illegal act.

 

The answers I have found on the Internet, tell me that there is no difference.

Bullyingstatics.org tells us that

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.

A woman called Lizzie Velasquez who suffers from a rare disease, found herself on YouTube while searching online, claimed to be the ugliest woman in the world (!!) We could without doubt call her haters for sadistic chanters too. You can find her here.

Here is what they said about her:

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Why is this so important to address?

We need to address this issue in society as a growing problem and we must confront and acknowledge the problem.

We have to be aware that people are getting bullied, trolled and many of them are scarred for life, and some of them are unfortunately taking their own lives.

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«Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University» Bullyingstatistic.org

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Nobullying.com tells you about six unforgettable cyber bullying cases, but there are more stories all over the Internet about how online bullying destroys life.

So what separates the old time lynch mob from modern day online lynch mobbing?

I would say there is little that separates the two. The difference is the way it is conducted. Back in the days, the lynch mob would go and get their victim and then kill. Now that is clearly illegal and penalised, the lynch mob fulfils the definition of cyber bullying:

«Cyber bullying is the use of information technology to repeatedly harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner. According to U.S. Legal Definitions, Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.»  They seek to harm and harass their victims in the way, that the victims themselves are conditioned to believe the lies, feel threatened, being defamed and humiliated. History and statistics show that this has led to people being in a severe mental state and even suicide.

Steps you should consider for your own sake

We cannot depend on “Karma” even though the «law of sowing and reaping» are pretty clear:

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Screenshot: Twitter
  Initial action(s)

What you can do is to report it on the actual social platform you are on, YouTube, Facebook etc, talk with you parents, friends, church, go to the police.  The Streaming Lawyer, Jon Mitchell “Mitch” Jackson, gives you further advice on how to stop internet trolls here.

   Set healthy boundaries and block if you can

Set healthy boundaries between you and your troll/bully where blocking can be a good option. This  is not only healthy for you, but also for them. Because bullying or trolling WAS NEVER ABOUT YOU, but about them. This way you disable the platform for them to walk into your life by shutting the door.

  Get a tribe around you

«If you are choosing to be around negative people, you are really tormenting yourself» – Joyce Meyer.

Whether you are harassed by one single bully or a troll, or have no choice to get out since you are working in an environment of negative or arrogant people (same same), choose to be around positive people outside your working hours to combat negative influencers. Do not feel the pressure to have to be the “fixer”. Remember that not all of us  who are thrown to the wolves are called to come back leading the pack ;)

  Forgive and let go

I will end this with the wise words from Joyce Meyer:

«I know from personal experience how damaging it can be to live with bitterness and unforgiveness. I like to say it’s like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. And it really is that harmful to us to live this way.

Who are you helping most when you forgive the person who hurt you? Actually, you’re helping yourself more than the other person. I always looked at forgiving people who hurt me as being really hard. I thought it seemed so unfair for them to receive forgiveness when I had gotten hurt. I got pain, and they got freedom without having to pay for the pain they caused. Now I realise that I’m helping myself when I choose to forgive.» ~ Joyce Meyer