As much as one would like to see some sort of justice for Amanda Todd, the 15-year old BC girl who took her life last week after years of cyber-bullying, what’s gone down on the internet in the last few days is truly disturbing.
On Monday, someone purporting to be part of the hacktivist collective Anonymous (and by the way, what qualifies one to claim to be part of Anonymous? Owning a Guy Fawkes mask?) posted information on pastebin supposedly identifying Todd’s electronic harasser. Sort of. “At the most this is the person who did this to Amanda Todd and at the least its [sic] another pedophile,” wrote her would-be avenger. The info was accompanied by a mosaic of screenshots to back up the claim, taken from various scuzzy websites to which someone using the handle “kody1026” had contributed various scuzzy things. However, none of them had anything to do with Todd, and none established any sort of conclusive connection between “kody1026” and the individual named on pastebin.
Naturally, the internet piled on anyway. “He deserves to get every thing that is comeing to him. amanda should be here. NOT HIM. i hop you feel guilty the rest of your life you narasistic jerk,” wrote one correspondent on a facebook hate group named for the alleged abuser. And elements of the media didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory either. CBC sent out a reporter to knock on this door . . .
. . . apparently unaware that “117” was just the last in a range of addresses on a certain street where Mr. Anonymous thought
Frankenstein the bully might live. I suspect it’s the same house that these poor people live in. I suspect the reason there wasn’t an answer is because they’ve fled to get away from reporters and vigilantes knocking on their door.
Yesterday police said the accusation against the man named was “unfounded” — which isn’t quite the same as saying it’s untrue, but does suggest we should let them get on with their own investigation without having to address half-baked internet memes (like the autopsy photo that wasn’t). “We want to urge everyone who has been touched by Amanda’s story to respect Amanda’s memory by being a responsible citizen of the Internet and thinking critically about information received online before passing it along,” said an RCMP spokesman.
Which begs the question: Are there any responsible citizens of the internet?