Forbes reports below:
Watching a month-old video of the lead-up to a shark attack in Los Angeles is like seeing Internet trolls in real life. An unidentified fisherman hooked a seven-foot great white shark off Manhattan Beach in July. It is illegal to fish for Jaws, but the guy lets the shark struggle on the line for more than a half hour, laughing and amused by its thrashing. Then in the distance of the video, you can see long distance swimmers come into frame. The people in the video laugh harder at the impending collision between the agitated shark and the swimmers, losing it when one of the swimmers runs directly into the shark. “He fuckin’ jumped right on top of him,” howls one. “Right on top of him!”
Then the screaming starts.
The shark predictably bit the swimmer, a 40-year-old real estate broker. Only after blood flowed did the fisherman and the group who had been laughing begin screaming for the other swimmers to get out of the water. The laughter stops as the reality of the situation they created sank in. I learned of the incident while I was reading, “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace,” an upcoming book by University of Maryland privacy scholar Danielle Citron, who is also a Forbes contributor. And I could not help but equate it with some of the harassers, trolls and cybermobs described in her book, who launch online attacks with sometimes devastating consequences, from suicides by those bullied to lost jobs to years of rebuilding online reputations. In many cases, those harassed simply get out of the water. Zelda Williams quit Twitter and Instagram after trolls swarmed around her father’s death, flooding her on…continue reading.