Tuesday, March 29, 2016


He's a disruptor, a protector, who is waging a cyber war against the extremists in the one place they do most of their recruiting: online.

Adbullah-X counters the narrative that groups like ISIS use, in order to save young people from getting into something they may not be able to escape. 

The extremists use social media as a weapon of provocation. It works because they are targeting an age group of people who are already struggling with their identity. What Abdullah-X does is post against their jihadi narratives. He does this by empowering them towards self-actualization and positive choices.

He's a former extremist, so he knows the drill better than most law enforcement. The name is obviously a persona and his digital presence is gaining ground. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Internet Troll Clubs

The troll community isn't just your Twitter feed or YouTube comments. It's a real thing. The cyber world is full of online coffee shops where trolls hang out, trade notes, and offer praise. They learn from each other how to be better anarchists.

In these community and forums, anything is on the table. Disruption is the game. It's pretty hard to get banned from one of these feeds. Some of these discussion boards are on the regular web; others are on the dark web.

This is a place where one can brag about their trolling escapades. Here, trolls even troll other trolls.

You've got trolls who publish guides on how to be a better troll, such as A Beginner's Guide to Internet Trolling. In fact, one quick Google search and there are too many troll manuals.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Girl Like Her

This story is etched in our mind, even before computers or the Internet.

I can see the clique bitch and her sidekick in my head today, nearly 50 years later: Susan and Doris. Their mission: to marginalize anyone who was not inside their little group. If they knew you liked a boy, they would recruit him. They'd invite you to parties sometimes, but you were always made to feel like an outsider, a freak. Yea, this 2015 movie, A Girl Like Her, made me grateful there was no Internet in those days. I was lucky.

Like the tagline says, A Girl Like Her is the story of millions. While this blog is mostly about business and adult cyberbullies, there is a correlation. If Mom or Dad is a bully, they imprint that behavior on their kids.

This movie ultimately shows how much the bully and the victim have in common, besides being linked to each other through torment. They both tend to have low self-esteem. The bully puffs herself up like a blowfish to make herself seem more important than she feels. The target might be a loner, an introvert who second guesses every move she makes.

Writer and Director Amy S. Weber has done a pretty good job of portraying this as organically as it can happen. It may be fiction, but you feel like you are watching the real deal, live and up front.

Everyone needs to see this movie, especially if you are a parent, a target, a bully, or any of their friends.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cyberbullies Are Taught, Not Born

You don't have to go very far to see adults behaving badly. It's rampant in your Facebook feeds, in Twitter, and pretty much every facet of media.

Here's just a couple of examples take from the day I wrote this post:

For generations, psychologists and law enforcement have been assessing the home lives of those who perpetrate crimes. It may not be 100 percent of the time, but in many cases, if a child has witnessed their parents disrespect for authority, bully their spouse, steal or cheat in some way, it leaves a resounding impact.

Children learn bullying behavior from their parents. While it's difficult to find links that say this about cyberbullying, the correlation can still be made because cyberbullying is still bullying, whether you're a child or an adult.

Hate begets hate.

I don't have to tell you that adult bullying is rampant in the workplace. We've all had that boss or know of a co-worker who makes life miserable for the rest.

Here is an interesting post about serial bullies from bullyonline.org.

So if all these bullies have kids... But the reality is, bullying behavior is now an online reality. This is the new real life. You can turn off your computer, but it will still be there for the rest of the world to see.

There is a wonderful movie I just saw online that focuses on a school cyberbullying incident to which I will discuss in another post. Some bullies may not think of themselves as bullies, until someone exposes them. Others don't care. But if a child is a bully, chances are the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. If all adults, whether parents or not, checked themselves before they lash out, before they make a mean comment, think of their motive before posting something, and know that someone is always watching and waiting to use their lead, then maybe we can change the world, one post at a time. Respect, regardless of race, religion, size, culture, age, job title, politics, hair color, clothing, sexual orientation, or country.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Allow Comments Button: Is It A Two-edged Sword?

We know that Twitter and Reddit can turn ugly over a single moment or hashtag and that Wordpress can turn into an onslaught of spam, that YouTube can be the King of Mean.

What is it about being able to comment on the Internet that turns people into assholes?

Comments on YouTube can be so bad, that Google tried to force its users to have to log into a Google + account, thinking that showing their identity might curb the nasty. Well, it worked so well that it was announced in July 2015, the alliance was over.

Mean-spirited comments even has the psychology community trying to assess some of the reasons. Anonymity may be one reason, but still. How many of us are inclined to set up fake profiles just for the sake of harassing someone?

While there are some mean comments that actually come out as humorous, but there are some that are so hateful that you have to flag the users as a cyberbully, block, and ban them from all of your media.

You don't have to look far to find a mean comment. There are many taking to video to read them aloud. Besides exposing these bullies for who they are (and why do they all write like they are illiterate?), the act of reading them diminishes their power.