In two of the messages, the troll had included personal information about Vanessa and her family -- the former mailing addresses of her father and mother, as well as Vanessa's own current phone number.In another message, the troll threatened to personally attack Vanessa, saying she was "next" and telling her to mind her own business. Vanessa got a call from her mother that same morning.They, too, heard from a deluge of faceless users promising brutal sexual violence. In fact, while a 2014 survey found that men receive more negative messages on Twitter in general, the group that received even harassment was female journalists -- that is, some of the women who rely most on the Internet as a way to share their thoughts and simply do their jobs.Women of color and members of the LGBT community tend to face especially fierce online harassment. Different online platforms have different monitoring and reporting systems, but a determined troll can often work around them.hen Vanessa* found a Facebook group dedicated to horror and fantasy movies a couple of months ago, she was thrilled to discuss her favorite topic with nearly 5,000 people who shared her enthusiasm.But one day not long after, she noticed that a thread had gotten off topic.One of the group's members was threatening to attack people, even throwing out the word "rape." Vanessa, 26, informed the group's administrator and the troll was banned.
But a Facebook spokesperson quoted in an October piece for The Atlantic said that the company receives millions of complaints each day, and "it's not easy to keep up with requests." Facebook doesn't rely only on user reports and its Community Standards to protect women.Some systems can be programmed to flag obscenities, but they're often unable to guard against messages where the abusive language is more subtle.(Not to mention the fact that plenty of people use curse words and obscenities in friendly messages to each other.) And since several of these platforms allow anonymity, tracing and policing the trolls can be nearly impossible. There are third-party sites like Trolldor, which monitors trolling activity on Twitter and blacklists trolls to "combat the defenselessness" of the platform's users and encourage a "friendly" environment, as the Trolldor FAQ page puts it.Take the case of Thorlaug Agustsdottir, a woman from Iceland who got into an online disagreement in late 2011 with a user of a Facebook group called "Men are better than women." Soon, a new picture had been added to the page: Agustsdottir's face, Photoshopped to look beaten and bloody, on the body of another woman.Agustsdottir immediately reported the issue to Facebook, but was told the image "does not violate Facebook’s Community Standards on hate speech, which includes posts or photos that attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or medical condition.” It wasn't until Agustsdottir took her story to the media that Facebook removed the photo and apologized for the mistake.