Call for Internet Civility: When the Internet is Used as a Weapon


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Increasingly, the internet is being used as a weapon to attempt destruction of business competitors. While the internet is a powerful medium for communication, it has a dark side. This is a Call for All Responsible Internet Citizens: Just Say No to Cyber Harassment and Internet Defamation. See more at

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Call for Internet Civility: When the Internet is Used as a Weapon

  1. 1. Presented by Dorian Karthauser, WordPress Midcities Group Meetup January 25, 2014
  2. 2. When the Internet is Used as a Weapon Presented by Dorian Karthauser 1-25-2014 Private Eyes One of the unique things about online conversation is that many can participate but each is relatively unseen. We can be together virtually and alone in reality. Online conversation lacks the human gaze. Looking into another person’s eyes has a profound effect on the speaker. The feeling of being seen deeply influences how we communicate, and I believe the lack of it is one of the contributors to the lack of civility online. In a study published in Biology Letters in 2006, Melissa Bateson et al showed that the cues of being watched can enhance cooperation. From
  3. 3. When the Internet is Used as a Weapon Presented by Dorian Karthauser 1-25-2014 Civility and the Internet October 23, 2013 Letters to the Editor, The New York Times To the Editor: Re “Invitation to a Dialogue: Bring Back Civility” (Oct. 23): The high-tech industry and especially popular social networks and search engines have a responsibility to respond to hate speech. Given the enormous volume of content on the Internet this is a huge challenge, and while some have responded more effectively than others, the overall response of the industry has been uneven and inadequate. There is definitely room for more rapid blocking or removal of hateful content that violates their terms of service. …The Internet has been an enormous force for good, but none of us can ignore its dark side. We and the industry must be constantly vigilant in responding quickly and effectively to the various manifestations of cyber-hate. Sincerely, The Anti-Defamation League From
  4. 4. When the Internet is Used as a Weapon Presented by Dorian Karthauser 1-25-2014 Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet Book BY ABRAHAM H. FOXMAN AND CHRISTOPHER WOLF “A powerful medium for communication, the Internet has a dark side; the ease with which information is shared comes with a price. Every day, individuals and organizations use the power of the Internet as a shield to spread vitriol aimed at racial, ethnic, religious, and other targets. Viral Hate is a call for increased action by Internet companies to speak out against hate-filled content and to take active steps toward a more civil Internet. It also provides a clear guide to the roles parents, teachers, and ordinary citizens can play to counteract the presence and effects of online hate.”
  5. 5. When the Internet is Used as a Weapon Presented by Dorian Karthauser 1-25-2014 Issues to Consider 1. Is it ever good business practice to use the internet (and WordPress) in an attempt to destroy or damage a personal reputation and/or related small business? 2. Internet Defamation includes attempting to destroy a personal and/or business reputation through use of the internet 3. Legal liabilities involved with using the internet as a weapon to sabotage competitors, ex-spouses, etc. 4. And most important: How can I protect myself online?
  6. 6. When the Internet is Used as a Weapon Presented by Dorian Karthauser 1-25-2014 Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet Author: Sue Scheff "My name is Sue Scheff. This is my story. I’ve been a victim of Internet defamation. I understand too well the sense of powerlessness, isolation, and unadulterated fear that if you tell someone your name and they decide to Google search you (it happens), you’ve suddenly gone from acquaintance to some Fatal Attraction monster who makes Hitler seem like a saint—a pariah to be avoided at all costs. Internet defamation is another animal entirely—a cruel and vicious animal that often lacks a face and hides behind the computer screen in cowardly anonymity. Or so the ‘anonymous’ think. The cyber defamation scourge sweeping the web today is destroying lives, careers, and businesses with no advance warning. The devastation is shocking and immediate. The risk is too high for you to ignore this new form of online personal terrorism. But you have to help yourself. There are no white knights and no one is going to come to your rescue. So take our stories, advice, and guidance as a wake-up call. You have the power to gain control of your good name and reputation before the nice boy who lives next door, who seems to always be sitting in his overstuffed recliner drinking a beer, decides to pay you and yours a little cybervisit. Strange things can happen on the web. Those under attack will at times feel out of touch with reality. Sue will tell you that she was no exception. It is my sincere hope that by exposing my own ordeal, as well as the mistakes I made when trying to confront unfounded attacks on my character and business practices, that you might benefit from them both."
  7. 7. When the Internet is Used as a Weapon Presented by Dorian Karthauser 1-25-2014 Don't feed the trolls? Cultivating civility online SALLY KOHN 8 July 2013 “[T]he high road is overrated. It requires silence in the face of violent misogyny, and a turn-the-other cheek mentality that society has long demanded of women. A vibrant feminist movement has ensured women don’t take injustices laying down offline - so why would we acquiesce on the Internet?” Together, Valenti, Smooth and others make the case for responding to incivility online - and, by extension, throughout society - not by turning the other cheek but by engaging; not allowing the unfettered megaphone of the Internet to drown us out with negativity and hate but seizing the megaphone to make even more noise for respectful and civil discourse. In this vision, the Internet isn’t a murky under-bridge of incivility that threatens democracy and which the rest of us polite folks ignore, but a constantly-contested space. And in that space, civility isn’t a victim but a tool, one to be wielded with wit and abandon to slay the trolls that would undermine a decent culture and society.
  8. 8. When the Internet is Used as a Weapon Presented by Dorian Karthauser 1-25-2014 Business is no longer just a media user: Business is now a Media Publisher Who is a Media Publisher? YOU are.