Disclaimer: I am not attempting to provide any legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship in this post, but rather simply to help people take smart, wise steps to protect ourselves, our families, and friends.
Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2016, I spoke about blocking bots, trolls, and haters on Periscope. As an attorney and as a person with empathy and compassion for others who are being harmed on this platform, I am speaking up to voice my serious concern and see if we can get some of the online harassment that I am seeing on Periscope and elsewhere stopped. To be clear, the online harassment is happening not only on Periscope but on other platforms. I’m using Periscope as an example because that is where I am seeing most of it in my personal experience. Also, a friend on Periscope spoke yesterday about having her identity stolen so I thought I would speak up to try to prevent identity theft and encourage people to take adequate steps to protect yourselves and your families, friends, and connections. Identity theft is a serious issue to me because on at least one occasion, identity thieves were able to steal my card number and our bank caught it before any damage was done. I know many people that have been victims of identity theft. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
To be honest, I have taken my fair share of criticism on Periscope: some has been constructive (from friends) and some has been very destructive. This concerns me because as the creator of the Positivity Patrol, this is not consistent with my values. The more negativity I see, hear, and receive on Periscope, the more I question whether I should remain on this platform or not. My awareness of how strong positivity by positivity advocates stirs up intellectually dishonest negatively-charged opposition has been increased to the point that I can sense and feel a strange sense of negativity on some occasions on my positivity scopes. One of the haters favorite topics is the size of my nose to which I say: the better to smell the roses! And coffee among other things. God gave me a large nose and I’m not ashamed of it. For now, I’m determined to stay. The benefits of remaining here are greater than the disadvantages.
However, there are some major problems that seem to afflict Periscope in particular: the anonymity is giving bots, trolls and haters an upper hand, an advantage. Perhaps if we join together we can collectively change that. Bots have gotten a lot of traction and many are seeking and soliciting sex, even in the middle of my scopes among other things (one bot/troll purported to be soliciting sex by a child). As an attorney, I think there are some of these bots involved in attempts to commit international or domestic crime here in the U.S (perhaps identity theft among other things). But the reporting system to report these troublemakers to Periscope and/or law enforcement is inadequate to deal with the threat to our safety, our children, and our families. Online crime has evolved faster than law enforcement can keep up with right now due to rapidly-changing technology. Trolls will team up, sharing your broadcast with others, bringing dozens of trolls into your broadcast and they tag-team against you, attacking you with any ridiculous red herring reason. Perhaps haters will be always with us but we cannot allow to hate to win in battles with love, joy, positivity and happiness.
What is a bot? Computer-generated fake profiles (frequently eggshells on Periscope with no profile picture but not always) have surfaced on Periscope and elsewhere, sometimes with fake urls that are used as phishing schemes to steal others’ identity and/or solicit people for undesirable and/or illegal reasons.
What is a troll? A troll is someone who seeks to harass, bother, annoy, and/or harm others, sometimes behind a false identity. Some trolls have more evil, nefarious intentions, others are trying to be funny but sometimes in harmful, hateful, and undesirable ways that hurt people. Some trolls will pretend to love you then change quickly and unexpectedly (“bait and switch”), causing harm. Or they will simply disappear. If we don’t follow them back, some trolls will suddenly vanish when we do not pounce upon the “bait”. Yes, trolls bait us and then “go fish” upon unsuspecting scopers if and when we bite upon the bait. We can try to ignore them to some extent but we must protect ourselves and protection is more important to me than ignorance. Ignorance of trolls is not bliss.
Should we hug our haters? I still haven’t read Jay Baer’s book on Hug Your Haters yet but have some concerns about adopting that approach entirely because we must protect ourselves, our families, spouses, children, and friends/connections. As someone with a preteen daughter, it’s a serious issue to me to protect our daughter, my wife, our family, etc.
Unfortunately, I had to block several people falling in these three categories during the scope. We call it a troll block party in the scope community.
Hopefully, this information is helpful to you and others. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in stopping these people from gaining control of this very valuable platform called Periscope. Let’s take a bite out of crime by preventing it! We can’t let the bots, trolls and haters win on Periscope or any other livestreaming platform!
Here’s the fiery scope from yesterday saved from katch. By the way, you can watch any of my prior scopes on katch.me/jeremypmurphy. Remember my last words in the scope were: Love One Another!