A Brazilian nonprofit dedicated to defending the rights of black women has come up with a novel new approach to fighting online racism: public shaming. OK, maybe that’s not exactly a new approach. But the Criola group’s methods are interesting.
After a black female weather forecaster (the first in Brazilian prime-time television history) was inundated with racist comments on Facebook, the group decided to use Facebook’s location tags to figure out where some of the posts were made. Then, they republished the comments on billboards in those towns in order to shame the Facebook users who made them. However, the group did blur the names and profile pictures on the billboards.
“We omit names and faces of the authors because we have no intention of exposing anyone,” the project’s website states. “We just want to educate people so that in future they think about the consequences before posting racist comments.”
While the group’s goal is to teach people that online comments have real-world consequences, I have to wonder if the people who made the comments will really care. After all, if you’re willing to post racist comments online under your own name for all the world to see, having the same comments placed on a billboard probably isn’t much of a deterrent (although for some, perhaps seeing the comment in the real world would be a wake-up call). And if someone is trolling under a fake name, the billboards might end up doing little more than “feeding the trolls” by giving them the attention they crave. But either way, there’s no denying it’s a great way for the Criola group to drum up publicity for their cause.
(Source: Business Insider/Yahoo!)
Jason Mathews is Internetting way too hard. Follow him at @jasonmathews316.