The Icky Internet: The Rise of Trolls and Cyberbullying

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The PBS series Off Book explores the dark side of social media in their latest episode, interviewing experts from academia who are studying these issues. Alice Marwick, an Assistant Professor at Fordham University, explains that young people often don't think of their negative experiences online as bullying; they prefer the term "drama." This stance and the Internet's screen of anonymity enable bullying on a much larger scale than the halls of a school. Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at New York University who wrote her dissertation on online trolls, describes the complicated subculture that drives everything from petty commenting to seriously disturbing harassment. Finally, Andy Sellars at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society talks about the legal challenges around free speech and how websites are struggling to create policies to prevent bullying. Sellars says it's complicated; anonymity also empowers political dissidents and bullied kids alike to reach out for help. 

For more videos from PBS Off Book, visit http://video.pbs.org/program/off-book/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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