At our Internet Safety School events we typically talk about online bullying as something that only schoolchildren do to each other. But, with ever-widening access to technology, adults are increasingly using digital platforms to troll, abuse and intimidate others.
In Brazil, Criola, an organisation that works to defend black women’s rights, decided to fight back by putting up billboard posters near the homes of the perpetrators to highlight real examples of online racist abuse to the local community.
While controversial, the public’s response has been highly supportive of this campaign, with many expressing gratitude to Criola for shining a light on the cowardly tactics used by the few to abuse the many.
Naming and shaming like this is a high risk tactic in marketing. But, in credit to Criola, care has been taken to protect the identity of each online abuser by hiding their name and pixelating their photo. And by placing the billboards near to the location where the online abuse was generated, the organisation hopes the message will hit home and lead to long-term change. They are even inviting others to submit examples of online racism by following a simple six step process to create posters for their own neighbourhood.
The moral of the story? Whatever you post online is there for anyone to see. If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, don’t hide behind a screen and say it to everyone online. If you do, don’t be surprised if campaigners like Criola decide to fight back.
For more about the Criola ‘Virtual Racism’ campaign, watch the reaction from members of the public below: