Rachel Riley, host of the UK television show “Countdown,” has joined a campaign to fight social media trolls after being targeted online over her efforts to call out antisemitism in the UK’s Labour party.
The British Jewish 33-year-old joined a group of television stars, politicians, actors and campaigners who pledged to no longer publicize the abuse they receive from online trolls but instead mute notifications, block users and report abusive comments as a way to prevent the trolls from getting the wider attention.
The campaign was launched by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) following the publication on Monday of a report titled, “Don’t Feed the Trolls.”
Riley was involved in the research behind the CCDH report and said the experience had “totally changed the way I interact on Twitter.”
“Before having CCDH’s knowledge it felt like not responding to trolls or blocking them was weak, and calling them out, trying to engage in conversation and education was helpful, but the research shows otherwise,” Riley said. “I now block trolls as common practice, and have changed my settings to avoid seeing much of their output, which has made life much better from a mental health standpoint and vitally, is not inadvertently helping to grow their audiences or feed their negativity.”
During an appearance on the BBC‘s “Victoria Derbyshire” show, Riley said she has blocked around 1,500 people on Twitter thus far.
She explained, “I’ve had people denying my Jewish heritage, saying that my dead granddad would be disgusted by me. I’ve been compared to a Nazi, a white supremacist, a pedophile enabler. I mean you name it, these people are saying it. And I don’t need to give them any oxygen. It’s pointless.”
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Author: Shiryn Ghermezian
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