Industry News

Vile troll uses Twitter ads to urge transgender people to commit suicide

We all know there’s some fairly horrible stuff that goes on on social networks.

Sadly many have used the detachment of sites like Facebook and Twitter to say hateful things that they would never be brave enough to say to another living person’s face.

But a Twitter troll went one step further yesterday, not only describing transgender people as “deformed freaks” who should kill themselves, but using the paid-for Promoted Tweets service of Twitter to make sure that the messages appeared in as many people’s timelines as possible.

Oh, and to cap it all, they did all this from a “cloned” account, purporting to be that of an Australian feminist campaigner – presumably in the hope that any outrage would be flung in her direction.

Here are a couple of the abusive messages that were pushed through Twitter’s paid for advertising service from an account named @Caitlin_Roperr (note the two “r”s at the end of the userid):

offending-tweet-1

Trannies, getting surgery won’t change your gender. It will only turn you into a deformed freak. End your miserable existence. Kill yourself

offending-tweet-2

Trannies, your families never loved you. You are living a lie & you know it. End your miserable existence. Commit suicide now.

All highly unpleasant stuff, and one can only imagine the sick mind that came up with the messages – let alone decided to implicate the real Caitlin Roper (whose true account is @Caitlin_Roper)

In a blog post last year on The Guardian, the real Caitlin Roper described how she had been the victim of abusive online attacks by a male activist group called “A Voice For Men”. Others also joined in the witch-hunt against her.

Roper told how she found convincing copies of her Twitter profile, offering sex to men on the internet. Fortunately, Roper was able to verify her identity to Twitter and have the bogus account shut down.

It’s not known, of course, whether “A Voice for Men” is also responsible for the latest messages, but it’s clear that they are far from being fans of Roper.

Fortunately, the latest bogus Twitter account has also been shut down by Twitter, and the promoted tweets deleted. The real Caitlin Roper posted her thanks on Twitter:

real-caitlin

But questions still remain.

Shouldn’t Twitter do more to police promoted tweets, or could anyone buy a series of Twitter ads (presumably using a stolen credit card) and spit out bile and hatred to thousands of others?

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Twitter’s own CEO Dick Costolo believes that his company “sucks at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform, and we’ve sucked at it for years”.

Based on the experience of Caitlin Roper and Twitter’s transgender community this week, it’s hard to disagree with him.

About the author

Graham CLULEY

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s, having been employed by companies such as Sophos, McAfee and Dr Solomon's. He has given talks about computer security for some of the world's largest companies, worked with law enforcement agencies on investigations into hacking groups, and regularly appears on TV and radio explaining computer security threats.

Graham Cluley was inducted into the InfoSecurity Europe Hall of Fame in 2011, and was given an honorary mention in the "10 Greatest Britons in IT History" for his contribution as a leading authority in internet security.

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  • “to say hateful things that they would never be brave enough to say to another living person’s face.”

    This isn’t even remotely true. It happens all the time, especially to transgenders and homosexuals in real life. For example, blacks infamously despise gays and it was a the black vote in multiple states like California that assured gay marriage would not come to pass. Next is Christians, they have no problem stating transgenders and homosexuals are all going to hell, are freaks, misc vocally and holding large signs waving them in front of traffic or churches to prove it. Muslims have homosexuals and transgenders EXECUTED and if they found you in real like in a country like Saudi Arabia, you’d be stoned to death or beheaded on the spot. We could go on and on. Nobody is scared of them and women are getting especially angry with transgenders because they essentially, as feminists believe, make their gender (and all gender) irrelevant. Essentially, they make feminism and all women’s “rights” irrelevant and normalise the fact that gender is a social construct. I say, I support trans folk just for that alone, they are the heroes we deserve. Give em hell, boys. Err… Girls. Whatever you are.