They See Me Trollin'
“First off, I am not talking about those silly wild haired dolls with jewels in their belly buttons,” begins the most recent installment of the regular Ask a Cop column, published to Utah’s KSL News website. This week’s topic of conversation isn’t the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street or how to circumvent marijuana laws: it’s a long, angsty missive about the scourge of online trolling.
Anon No More
Got big plans to save money on your summertime Hamptons excusions by renting someone’s designer couch via Airbnb? Well, get ready to hand over your driver’s license.
AllThingsD reports that starting today, 25 percent of users will have to submit to the company’s new “Verified Identification” process, or you will not be booking any more futons. Hosts can now restrict their rentals to verified users, incentivizing signups.
Last night, the now-notorious Reddit troll Violentacrez, whom Gawker recently exposed as a 49-year-old Texas-based programmer named Michael Brutsch, appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 for God knows what reason. In the painfully awkward two-part interview, during which Mr. Cooper thankfully gave us a commercial break to collect ourselves and tweet our thoughts, Mr. Brutsch invoked every possible excuse to justify his poor behavior, which includes creating controversial subreddits like PicsofDeadKids and Jailbait.
Throughout the interview, Mr. Brutsch referred to his Reddit username Violentacrez in the third person, echoing other statements he’s made about Violentacrez being a character he played and attempting to distance himself from taking personal responsibility for his actions. He also admitted that his sole purpose for creating racist and misogynistic subreddits was to get a rise out of people (he bragged he has a “gift” for it) in order to accumulate “meaningless internet points.”
YouTube comments are a notorious cesspool of sexism, racism and vitriol, and the fact that the vast majority of users go by anonymous handles probably doesn’t help mitigate the problem. Google appears to know this all too well–its obsession with keeping Google+ free of pseudonyms is a good indication that the company isn’t a big fan of anonymity.
Now, the search giant is taking its distaste for anonymity to a whole new level, instituting a pop-up dialogue box urging YouTube users to employ their real names.
Arrests, shutdowns of established file-sharing sites like Megaupload and legislation such as S.O.P.A. have driven users to seek a new breed of file-sharing destination. File-sharers are looking for security and privacy and they may have found it with newer solutions such as RetroShare and Tribler.
Naturally, since governments the world over are actively pursuing shutting down file-sharing in a variety of ways, anonymity and a lack of censorship are highly prized. TorrentFreak has more on why these and other options are gaining in popularity: