Serious trigger warning for violent misogyny, harassment, abuse, and threats.
So one of the patterns of internet harassment is this. As soon as someone is harassed, and talks about it, or posts evidence of it, the harassers and their enablers shift into victim blaming mode—claiming that the target somehow brought it upon themselves, that they are "attention seeking" and made it up, or that they actually engineered the harassment themselves in a "false flag" operation to gain sympathy.
We see this last claim advanced following tonight's doxxing of Brianna Wu (Spacekatgal). As soon as she tweeted about the doxxing and threats, prominent #GamerGate participants started casting about for some way to discredit her. One of the go-to techniques for this species of troll is the conspiracy-theorist favourite of anomaly hunting—sifting through an opponent's story for any hint of inconsistency, then interpreting anything that turns up in the worst possible light.
In this case, a few of the arguments that seem to have gained currency amongst the 8chan/#GamerGate crowd are
- that she must be making it up, because she somehow tweeted about the doxxing before it happened;
- that the police reaction time was unrealistically fast; and
- that she found out about the doxxing on 8chan unrealistically quickly.
Let's look at how events actually played out in time.
8chan/GG zerged an anti-Gamergate image macro meme one of Wu's fans made, flooding it with hateful comments.
10 Oct @ 2352 UTC:
The dox is posted to that same 8chan thread; it's post #83800.
11 Oct @ 0006 UTC (10 Oct @ 2006 EDT):
Wu first tweets that she has been doxxed, 14 minutes after it happened. Notice that she mentions 8chan as the source of the doxx, but says nothing about any threatening tweets.
11 Oct @ 0012 UTC (10 Oct @ 1712 MDT-Arizona; UTC+7):
The first threatening tweet is posted. (screenshot)
11 Oct @ 0014 UTC (10 Oct @ 2014 EDT):
"And, here's the part of the night where I call the police."
Wu first mentions a threatening tweet from @chatterwhiteman—2 minutes after it was sent.
11 Oct @ 0057 UTC (10 Oct @ 2057 EDT):
"The police just came by. Husband and I are going somewhere safe."
Wu tweets that the police have arrived, and that she & hers are getting the fuck outta Dodge—43 minutes after she mentions having called them.
In conclusion, then, Wu:
- only tweeted about the doxxing on 8chan after it happened;
- only tweeted about the threats on twitter after they happened;
- found out about the doxxing almost immediately because she'd been reading that exact 8chan thread when the doxx was posted to it; and
- saw the police respond to her call in something like 43 minutes.
I really didn't want to engage with this, but in this kind of online hate campaign, lies repeated often enough become truth, and the troll masterminds use this to full advantage.
Brianna, Frank, I hope you are somewhere safe, in good company, and as far away from this fuckshittery as humanly possible. And as for you, dear readers, what I would like you to come away with is this: when the troll hordes make outlandish claims about marginalized people having manufactured their own harassment and abuse, rest assured—there is less here than meets the eye. Give these ridiculous accusations the amount of consideration that they merit—which is to say, almost none at all.