Of course we’re avid, avid watchers of Tucker Carlson. But insofar as he’s like the shit filter, which is that if things make it as far as Tucker Carlson, then they probably have much more like…stuff that we can look at online. And so sometimes he’ll start talking about something and we don’t really understand where it came from and then when we go back online we can find that there’s quite a bit of discourse about “wouldn’t it be funny if people believed this about antifa.”
When I talk about online harassment I’m referring to a very broad spectrum of abusive behaviors that are enabled by technology platforms and used to target a user or a group of users. So this can be anything from a flaming or the use of personal insults or inflammatory language, to things like doxing or revealing or broadcasting personal information about someone such as a phone number or address, to things like stalking and impersonation and things of that nature.
Once we understand that legal talismans are protective invocations, we have to be critical of them. Even the ones we like. The shorthand is not comprehensible to users. And the shorthand is not comprehensible to people more generally.
Simply put, anonymity does not cause harassment. It does play a role, but it’s much much more complicated than most people have made it out to be. The reason that this is important to understand is because it’s having a practical impact on the world right now.