Feeds

back to article Brummie plod cuffed in Facebook troll hunt

A serving West Midlands police officer has been arrested after a woman was torn into by trolls on Facebook. Nicola Brookes, 45, of Brighton, received "vicious and depraved" taunts on the dominant social network as she wrote comments defending disqualified X Factor wannabe Frankie Cocozza. Detectives from her home town arrested …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Bronze badge
FAIL

usenet

this has been going on on usenet for 25 years....the difference is intelligent people generally take it on the chin.

Yet another reason why we try to keep stuff like usenet a secret from the unwashed proles.

12
48
Bronze badge

Re: usenet

Previous news reports on this case mentioned that the victim's email and Facebook accounts were hacked and fake Facebook pages setup in her name from which paedophilic messages sent to children. She was accused of being a prostitute, a child abuser and a drug dealer. I would suggest that this has gone considerably further than a bit of name calling that one should "take on the chin".

58
0

Re: usenet

Indeed it has. Those are crimes, not acts of 'bullying', and they should be prosecuted as such. This does not make any less tiresome the butthurt brigade and their inability to tell the difference between rudeness and abuse.

23
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: usenet

Wow, that's some attitude you've got there, stu4 - there's a future for you in HM Constabulary by the looks of things. Does usenet promote the idea of disconnecting your ego before posting? Maybe it should.

11
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: JohnG

Can anyone else think of a job where you wouldn't face immediate disciplinary action (e.g. suspension) if you were arrested for fraudulent impersonation and computer hacking. I know it's innocent unless proven guilty but come on.

4
1

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Stop

Re: JohnG

I can think of plenty. Your average blue collar worker would not be fired as long as they did not miss work before getting bail. People who work with money like bankers or store clerks might get fired, but your average carpenter, plumber, or electrician probably would not.

2
0
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: tleaf100

"el reg should do away with being able to post as anon,gutless wimps,if you wont put yer name to it,dont post it,tossers."

I thought these forums were 18+ only. Does your mother know you're here?

8
0
Silver badge

Re: tleaf100

@Fibbles - he has a point.

This is not a "real name" site (thank goodness), so any name will do. What stopping the anon posting would allow people to do is trace what a poster has said in the past and help spot the shills/trolls/idiots.

I have never understood any El Reg has Anon. Doesn't make sense really.

2
1
Silver badge

Re: tleaf100

"@Fibbles - he has a point"

He? Why did I say "he"? Apologies to you tleaf100 if you are in fact a she or otherwise gendered. It was a slip of the fingers, not a continuation of the misogynist cabal or anything. :)

1
0
Silver badge

Re: tleaf100

Would the downvoter(s) care to explain why allowing anon is a "Good Thing"(tm)?

0
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: tleaf100

> I have never understood any El Reg has Anon

I've posted anonymously on a couple of occasions.

There are certain subjects where, if you broach an opinion that differs from that held by certain individuals, they will not only down-vote you for that comment, they will go through your history down-voting everything. Posting anonymously stops that...

Vic.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: tleaf100

Posting as AC can help hide from your employers who you are, which could be embarrassing for you and them.

And removing AC won't stop trolls who would end up getting a troll account.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: tleaf100

@Wize - this is not a real name site, how could your employers possibly know who you are?

As to trolls? Non anon would just help identify those accounts.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: tleaf100

Some on here use real names.

Some may be identifiable by something they have posted (eg our phone system was down for the last 72 after a car totalled our local exchange)

Some might even admit to their boss what their username on here is, but later have a strong feeling on a controversial subject.

0
0
Silver badge
Mushroom

"intelligent people generally take it on the chin."

Why the fuck should anyone have to take bullying of any kind 'on the chin'?

Intelligence has nothing to do with either tolerance or the thickness of someone's skin.

Fuck 'em: If someone breaks the law by being an abusive twat either physically, verbally or over the Net, there is no reason why they 'have' to be ignored and allowed to continue. You beat bullies by hitting them back, not ignoring him.

And the fact that the bully was a serving police officer is an even better reason for him getting what's coming.

44
5
Anonymous Coward

The Internet

You must be new here, you might find people behave a little differently on here than in normal life.

Visit YouTube and read some video comments if you still don't understand.

If you feel offended no-one is forcing you to be here, you can leave.

7
27
Silver badge
Trollface

You beat bullies by hitting them back, not ignoring him.

No, really, you do not. Online bullying is not the same as real-life bullying, online the bully just wants attention. 'Hitting them back' is what they want - they want to know that they have irritated you.

It is far simpler to ignore online bullies, or trolls, as we called them before the self righteous brigade got online.

PS: Has there been some tech advances I've missed? How does one abuse someone physically over the net?

7
7
Silver badge
Stop

You have the legal right not be be assaulted.

You have NO RIGHT not to be offended.

Deal with it.

9
24
Bronze badge

The Internet does not offer immunity from libel and slander legislation. Deal with it.

30
2
Silver badge

@dogged

I have to agree, I'm sure there are limits but we cannot make offending people illegal. People have different views, different beliefs and different ways of expressing themselves. Taking part in society opens you up to all of that and not everyone is going to be sunday at grandma's polite. When someone offends you you either give them a dose of their own medicine, laught at them or ignore them. Running to the babylon over calling names is a little extreme. If it trips into outright threats or slander \ libel (can't remember which a fb post would count as) then there are laws to deal with that. Otherwise you are a tit or you ran into one on the internet. Shit happens. Move on. Some people are muppets, this is a fact of life. God can you imagine the courts if everybody rang the rozzers when someone was mean to them online? Stephen Fry would have at least 4 courtrooms to himself.

5
4

Same question I've got

I was bullied plenty in school; and I mean actually bullied, not Internet 'bullied', which is to say that a day in which I had only harsh language to put up with, and didn't get the ever-loving crap kicked out of me as well, was actually a pretty good day for me.

Upset and whining about it because everyone on the Internet is not always nice? I gather that's what a Tumblr is for. Why don't you go start one?

7
12
Facepalm

"Here" vs. "normal life"

AC is a total fuckwad

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

Next time someone pretending to be you creates a pedo site, you'll "just leave", right?

14
1
Bronze badge

@tom 38

Well, no. This is abuse. It has to be dealt wth. It's also bullying because the perp. thought he could get away with it through the anononymity of the web. Which sadly, not only hurts the victim, but also gives aid and comfort to the backwoodsmen that want to control the net.

5
0

While that's true with trolls, an above comment mentioned the full extent of what this trolling entailed. It was of a level that constitues harassment, which is a bit worse than being a team killing prickend in Counter Strike.

6
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: The Internet

"You must be new here, you might find people behave a little differently on here than in normal life.

Visit YouTube and read some video comments if you still don't understand."

No, I'm not; don't patronise me, A.Coward. But abuse is abuse. 99.9% of the time, people let it slide. That's the accepted pattern of behaviour.

But you don't *have* to. And you shouldn't be condemned for not taking the path of least resistance (which is to ignore it). You don't blame the victim. And if the complaint unearthed a copper behind it, then I'm glad the complaint was made, because I don't want that kind of thing from police officers.

Operating over the Net isn't a carte blanche to commit infractions which would be illegal by post, or in person. I wouldn't have complained myself, but I support her right to.

12
1

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Go

"You have NO RIGHT not to be offended.

Deal with it."

Our legal system disagrees with you.

Deal with it

7
5
Silver badge
Facepalm

"No, really, you do not. Online bullying is not the same as real-life bullying, online the bully just wants attention. 'Hitting them back' is what they want - they want to know that they have irritated you."

Yes. I'm sure he now realises his careers is fucked that he irritated her, and now he has LOADS of lovely attention. I bet he's well chuffed! :D

She hit back in an *effective* way, rather than by simply throwing insults back.

"It is far simpler to ignore online bullies, or trolls"

It is. We all do it. But one has a legal and human right not to, and victims shouldn't be abused for utilising that right.

11
0
Silver badge
FAIL

"PS: Has there been some tech advances I've missed? How does one abuse someone physically over the net?"

No, there's a word that you may have missed: 'Or'.

Go back and read what was written.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

oh yeah

so lets have the law changed then so that any post on facebook etc is treated as the trash that 95% of it is.

no come back in law.we now have people being arrested and charged just for posting an opinion that someone else does not like,i.e that useless bleeding diver at olympics,that caution will stay on that youngsters criminal record for life,because it was a cuation and not a conviction,mean while that over priveleged,over paid and over rated little prick daley will continue to rip off the public to tune of £75·000+ p.a for the next 4 years at least,but of course we are not meant to criticise him,just hand over our cash so that he can swan about like the third rate piece of crap that he is.

lets change funding for publicly funded sports jocks,no gold medal,you pay back every penny of public cash.

2
7
Rob
Bronze badge
Go

Re: oh yeah

You can tell it's the school holidays, roll on term time.

P.S. when you get back to school concentrate in those English classes.

11
0

Re: oh yeah

I agree with the tom daley comment, seems the government has loads of money to waste on athletes who are more than capable of funding themselves but is currently chucking thousands of sick and terminally ill people off benefit because they say theres no cash. Its fucking bullshit.

And as for this facebook thing, didnt it start out as an argument over a fucking x-factor result?

Christ, how dumbed down and moronic have peoples lives become that this even happens over something so worthless and trivial?

The phrase `get a life` was never more apt.

8
1
Silver badge

@Tom38

Although I agree with you in general there /is/ a difference between simply being an annoying troll or by systematically abusing someone.

Having wasted quite a few years on IRC and Usenet myself (I date from the FidoNet ages) I do agree that in a lot of cases simply ignoring someone is the best thing to do. Still; another thing important aspect is that if you are going to 'hit' back you'd better make the first 'punch' count, or else... Which is exactly what seems to have happened here.

Sure; trolls like attention. But getting it outside virtual channels? I doubt it ;-)

3
0
Silver badge

@Psyx

Maybe we should have a government system that monitors everyone's emails and can automatically issue penalties or raise the alert with plod. This would easily catch all these trolling abusing people; wouldn't it?

And I know how much you just love state surveillance systems.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: @Psyx

My comment was, of course, not meant in seriousness (although there are various rumours about NSA/GCHQ intercept operations) but the general point holds. Monitoring all email etc to catch a few bad apples is just the same as monitoring all the roads and recording everyone's movement to catch a few bad apples.

Expensive and a massive attack on freedoms for very little gain.

0
0
Silver badge
Stop

Re: @Psyx

"Maybe we should have a government system that monitors everyone's emails and can automatically issue penalties or raise the alert with plod. This would easily catch all these trolling abusing people; wouldn't it?"

It should be down to an individual to decide when they are offended, and for that to then be reported and acted on as a tort by the authorities, rather than a matter of legislative law.

"And I know how much you just love state surveillance systems."

I don't. You appear to have judged my entire opinion-base on my opinion of a single system.

However, the tools to trace and read your emails are already in place. And don't for a moment consider that they would not be used if you were reasonably suspected of a serious offence. They are not routinely used because that use is not backed by legislation, there is no will by the State to do so, and they don't have time.

Stop being angry at the tools of law enforcement. It's the legislation and motivation behind their use that is the deciding factor of if your liberties are being infringed. Focus on that if you really care about your liberties. Otherwise you're just looking at a magician waving a hankie while he pockets your wallet with the other hand.

1
0
Silver badge

"PS: Has there been some tech advances I've missed? How does one abuse someone physically over the net?"

Probably by hacking into their account and getting their address/phone number.

You could stress them to the point of suicide by scary phone calls and items through their door. Stress is physical.

You could incite mob violence by letting everyone think they are a pedo and give them an address.

And many many more.

0
0

Re: @dogged

In the UK, Intent is a key part of the law.

Offending someone is easily done, and there are people who will take deliberate offense. However, it is only illegal if the person intends to cause offense.

This allows people to have debates, heated discussions, and disagreements without it involving the courts. However, targeting someone with vitriol will get you into trouble.

So shit happens: People disagree, and yes, we should just accept it as a fact of life. In fact, it is good when people do not agree: It gives us reason to examine our beliefs to see if they are sound. However, intentionally offending someone is not disagreement: It is harassment, and that is not acceptable.

Oh, and an old adage brought up to date: Sticks and stones may break bones, but it is words that can hurt forever.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: @Psyx

You miss the point entirely. Once the system is in place, it will abused. Period. End of discussion. Game over. And good night.

I am quite aware of the potential for intercept ops and the various logs that ISPs keep. Quite aware. And I am not angry at the tools, or even the rozzers (a more depressed bunch who wish the pencil-necks would get out of their way you could not wish to meet; everyone member of the force I have had dealings with has been quite reasonable). It's the politicos and suits who think more technomagickery is going to somehow fix fundamentals problems.

It wont. It can't.

I've said it before and aI'll say it again - lead by example. But this takes greater courage and gumption than any of our tax-dodging, money-laundering, scheming "betters" could ever do.

So we have the arms race. And it's a race they cannot win.

0
0
Silver badge
Stop

Re: @Psyx

"You miss the point entirely. Once the system is in place, it will abused. Period. End of discussion. Game over. And good night."

By extending your logic, ANY technological tool, change in legislation, standing procedure, or indeed ANY change at all WILL be abused. Period [snigger] et cetera.

Well, one could argue that ANYTHING will be perhaps abused. So we stop all innovation and improvement? Nonsense.

You CONTROL and PREVENT abuse via procedure, legislation and auditing.

Rather than arguing that newfangled cars will cause deaths; fit seatbelts.

0
0
Silver badge

Sounds like Nicola needs to change her privacy settings

Because trolls are flipping everywhere.

1
11
Silver badge

Re: Sounds like Nicola needs to change her privacy settings

I'm guessing that the downvotes are from people that don't know that you can limit your facebook access to friends only.

0
7
Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds like Nicola needs to change her privacy settings

If someone sets up a fake account in your name, what good are your privacy settings going to do?

14
0

Times are changing

Sites like Facebook are not anonymous - they are based on the precept that your on-line ID is the same as your real-life one. Consequently, you cannot just behave like an obscene child and get away with breaking laws such as libel (or whichever apply), or worse.

The police regularly interact with the likes of Facebook in their day -to-day work in pursuing criminals.

8
2
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Times are changing

You should have stopped writing *before*

"in their day -to-day work in pursuing criminals"

1
1
Trollface

Bullies and Trolls are not the same thing

I've had enough of people* thinking that trolls and bullies mean the same thing. They do not. Trolling is for teh lulz, doing something for fun, a digital prankster if you will. Bullying is doing something to hurt someone else. Put it this way, if the general population would find your actions funny - its trolling. If they would find it upsetting or offensive then it is bullying.

*read the media and non-internet users.

4
7
Silver badge

Re: Bullies and Trolls are not the same thing

I agree, mostly. I differ slightly in that I think a one-off offensive post isn't bullying. Consistent offensive posts (whether mild or gross) against one person do constitute bullying, and I don't agree with those who say the recipient should just 'toughen up'.

It's down to the site moderators to police their own policies on behaviour, and not a matter for the police (unless the posts themselves are by their nature illegal).

In the case in question I understand from the article that the arrest is for computer misuse (presumably on-line breaking and entering), rather than for the posts themselves.

2
0
Headmaster

Re: Bullies and Trolls are not the same thing

I've always defined an Internet Troll as someone who posts something that is not in itself offensive, but causes others to post over-the-top bias and just plain MAD replies.

Posting "Apple have never made a good product" and waiting for the fanbois to explode is trolling. Saying "Mrs X smells of elderberries and her husband is a Hamster" (or something like that) is not Trolling, it's abuse.

The main-stream media didn't follow this definition, just as they never got the term "Hacker". Now it seems the Reg are also using it as a mere synonym for "bully".

I guess I lose, and another linguistic tool turns into a hammer.

17
0
Silver badge

Re: Bullies and Trolls are not the same thing

Trolling is any kind of interaction where the troll attempts to goad the trollee into an emotional response, using any kind of language or behaviour, whether accurate or not. It works best when it is accurate - or close to accurate - but some people don't understand the finer aspects of the Dark Arts and resort to puerile insults.

It's still trolling, even if "the man on the street" finds it offensive. Effective trolling is rarely "for teh lulz"; even if the troll, all his mates, and 99% of the world find it pant wettingly funny someone, somewhere will be upset with it - or it didn't work.

Bullying is repetitive, on going attacks over a period of time to fatigue and wear down someone. Big difference.

1
5

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.