Saturday, May 26, 2018

Prosecutions have happened for making others ill with Internet postings

Virginia Heffernan offers an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about trolling, somewhat as an extension of hate speech, where she starts her arguments about right wing trolls depicting David Hogg as a “crisis actor” in a nefarious plot to repeal the Second Amendment.  But she characterizes these videos not as bullying but as propaganda.  Indeed, Hogg would be impossible to bully.

“Politically themed porn – trolling, conspiracy theories, propaganda, stokes our chronic political arousal.  Why do we keep turning to it?”

She mentions a theory in the early days of the Internet where someone deliberately caused seizures in an epileptic by leading him to Internet videos with strobe lights in certain patterns, an idea that reminds one of “The Manchurian Candidate”.  In 2008, someone (in the early days of Twitter) tweeted such a video to NYTime reporter Kurt Eichenwald, who actually had a seizure and the speaker was prosecuted.  Eichenwald was known for his reporting on Internet trolls looking for minors.

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