Trollbusters: Fighting Online Harassment of Women Journalists

Publication Date


Document Type

Contribution to a Book


Journalism and Mass Communications


Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Social Media | Women's Studies

Publication Title

Mediating Misogyny


Jacqueline Ryan Vickery, Tracy Everbach


For women journalists, online harassment may result in emotional stress and may require legal and technological remedies to mitigate the damage caused to their identity and reputation. Perpetrators can use a combination of online and offline attacks that threaten the employment and safety of journalists. In the case of women writers, misogynistic and racist attacks can create a chilling effect that silences their voices online and creates a deterrent to freedom of expression that ultimately erodes the freedom of the press. Based on the examination of seminal work, case studies and personal anecdotes, this chapter investigates the consequences of abuse via Twitter and Facebook on the freedom of speech, the emotional and psychological impact on women journalists, and its implications on press freedom. Moreover, before suggesting digital defense strategies for journalists, the chapter also chronicles the development of TrollBusters, a platform for women journalists that counters online hate with positive messaging and just-in-time rescue services.


Online Harassment, Women Journalists, Social Justice Warriors


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