The Daily Mail has a long history of attacking Twitter users as sad loners trading insults anonymously with each other and directing their ire at celebrity targets en masse when it suits them – as if Twitter is one giant hive mind. This then seems to contradict with the other articles that the Daily Mail runs, that Twitter is also a site that allows self-important liberals to get all offended all the time and lead ‘campaigns’ against things (like certain Daily Mail articles / writers).
Either way, the Daily Mail enjoys trawling Twitter for easy copy and to generate page hits to the now all-consuming Mail Online website (when it comes to Internet trolling the statistics don’t lie: the Daily Mail is king). There have been a couple of articles that have caught my attention recently. Firstly, the Mail writes some standard guff about how Twitter trolls who ‘who trade vile insults about her looks‘. Fair enough, but they should perhaps pay more attention to Vorderman’s words:
Speaking to the Mail, Miss Vorderman added she does not let online bullies affect her self-esteem. But she said Twitter abuse should be monitored to protect more vulnerable victims.
Yes, protect vulnerable victims from Internet abuse, I think we can all agree that insulting someone who can fight back is one thing, insulting vulnerable people is beyond the pale. Step forward Daily Mail Reporter and the recent article on Emily Lloyd posted on the Mail Online website. This article is a particularly nasty example of the ‘look at this person, they were beautiful 20 years ago, LOOK AT THE STATE OF THEM NOW!!!’ articles that the Daily Mail delights in (both online and in print). What you need is a little background – which the Mail Online article gives:
In 2009 Emily revealed she had been suffering from crippling chronic insomnia and admitted this led to her having more time to analyse her situation during long nights in her bed dwelling on a career that might have been.
For Emily has suffered from mental illness on and off for 20 years and there have been various diagnoses, among them mild schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder.
Emily Lloyd is the sort of vulnerable victim that deserves protection from Internet trolling, yet the Daily Mail is happy to print this kind of article (which is now edited, the original having been airbrushed from history as usual by Mail Online). What the Daily Mail never acknowledges is that most Twitter users spray their hate to a handful of followers and occasionally direct it at a celeb who might have thousands of mentions a day; this is a world away from having the platform of being one of the world’s busiest websites and printing trolling articles aimed at vulnerable individuals.
It isn’t the first time Emily Lloyd has come under fire from newspapers playing the ‘look at what celeb X wore to the shops!’ game, and the Mail article acknowledges this as well;
Trademark wit: Emily may not look on form, but three years ago she laughed off critics of a similar photo by asking what attire might have been appropriate – a ball gown and tiara?
Yet, elsewhere in the article: ‘She wore a mismatched outfit as she walked her dog, carrying a few items from a local shop.’
Even though they acknowledge the stupidity of the main thrust of the article, they go ahead and publish it anyway (You can read more about the Emily Lloyd article on the Rethink Mental Illness website).
Elsewhere Amanda Platell attacks Twitter users in her weekly column of increasingly confused and desperate bitterness:
However many loyal fans a celebrity has on Twitter, it has become the underground playground for twisted inadequates who revel in others’ misfortune.
Be it Stephen Fry or Rebecca Adlington, no one is spared their malign attacks.
Twitter allows trolls, under the cloak of assumed identities, to make comments that they would not dare say even to their worst enemy in the pub. Comments that can be fired off in seconds without thought, decency or shame.
And as soon as one troll attacks, others pile in, validated and encouraged in their bravado by each other’s odious spite. The language of hatred becomes a badge of honour for these subterranean internet-obsessed losers.