Coping With Cyberbullying During Pride Month

By now you may have heard of something called Operation PrideFall which is a hate campaign by a small group of anonymous people on 4chan.

Their idea is to spam anti-LGBT content on Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram about people being pedophiles as well as attempt to target specific user accounts who have low number of followers. Their overall goal is to make those of us in the LGBTQ+ community feel shitty, self-conscious, and worry that our private identities will be made public to our families by creating a spectacle over what we share.

From what I found, it seems like this effort has already been thwarted. They tried to secretly organize on 4chan and then set up a Discord channel to collect anti-LGBT images along with details instructions of how to create fake Twitter accounts and use burner phone numbers in this coordinated online hate attack.

It seems like the trolls were boasting so much about their plans that the Discord channel was shut down, YouTube videos were reported and removed for violating community guidelines, and several LGBTQ+ news outlets have already wrote editorials about them.

There will always be homophobic and transphobic people in the world. They learn hate as part of their culture and upbringing. We deal with this every day of our lives as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Trolls will be trolls.

The month of June is supposed to be a prideful month with gatherings and celebrations of our LGBTQ+ Pride, but as you know, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic all our Price celebrations have been canceled around the world.

I ask that you not feed into this attempt at hate against us. It's already gaining a lot of attention in Google search, and I know you probably want to Google it yourself to find more information. The sad thing is that, as more people Google the word "PrideFall" the more Google will think it's important. When Google thinks a topic is important it shows it to more people as a suggestion.

The USA is horribly divided right now with topics of overreaching governors, wearing masks, 100 million people unemployed, and because the President is using his own Twitter account to show that online hate is not just allowed, but encouraged. We are suppose to look up to our community and political leaders in times of crisis for positive guidance, but lately many of those leaders have demonstrated a lack of caring. While many of us feel lost and alone during this pandemic, the trolls of the world are emboldened by the leaders who show that insults and cyberbullying is acceptable.

I've been the subject of targeted Twitter attacks in the past. One of my tweets from 2018 was reshared and attacked more than 100,000 times from the day I posted it until a year later when I finally decided to delete it. At first I was blocking the trolls and replying back, but it was exhausting. The trolls were attacking a selfie of me in my puppy hood standing next to my very accepting mom.

When it comes to any type of online bullying, the best action is to block the trolls. If you want to fight back then you can:
  • Make light of their trolling intent with a silly reply.
  • Reply by correcting their mis-information.
  • If they are pointing out a mistake in what you posted then you can acknowledge the mistake and correct it.
  • If you know the identity of an anonymous troll you could also unmask them and let them deal with the consequences of their cyber bullying actions.
  • Reply with rainbow filled emojis or photos.

After that, just move on.

I know that the words of those bullies will stay with you and make you feel like shit. I still question myself when it happens to me. Please reach out to an HLP board member or myself if you are feeling self-conscious because of cyber bullying. Keep telling yourself that these are just trolls that thrive on making others feel like shit.

I've always wondered what makes a troll tick. Why do they thrive on making others feel like crap and they love the attention? Were these people unloved as children? Did they watch their parents laugh as they got spanked or beaten? Haven't they ever learned about human decency?

As it turns out, anyone can turn into a troll under the right circumstances. As this article explains, people are more likely to turn into tolls if they are in a bad mood. Those bad moods can last far beyond the trigger of the mood, and can devolve into worse moods the longer they remain angry.

Thus, attempting to fight a troll just adds fuel to their bad mood and continues their negative cycle. You should pity them instead of engaging them.

Blocking a cyber bully and moving on is not a sign of weakness either. There is nothing wrong with you for not wanting to stand and fight. Remember, the internet trolls want you to fight back. They thrive on it. When you ignore them they will eventually realize that you can't be triggered for a fight and move on.

Pride month is going to be very difficult this year as we all figure out how to make the best of our celebrations. Don't let the trolls get you down, as I said, the easiest thing is to block them and move on.

Matt Redding
HLP Alpha

AT: 05/29/2020 12:23:26 PM   LINK TO THIS ENTRY

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