Vile abuse after TV appearance

 

Australia's internet cop has "escalated" a campaign of abuse against an activist and lawyer to Twitter after she was targeted online following an appearance on Q&A.

Nyadol Nyuon appeared on the ABC show on Monday last week on the "Hard Truths" panel discussing racism in Australia.

Following her appearance she was subject to abuse online, with some allegedly following her across different social media platforms.

"It appears one of the far-right members in Australia has made a video about me. I'll probably receive targeted trolling. I have just blocked a number of them," she said in a tweet on Monday.

She said the video creator, Avi Yemini, who was previously convicted of "brutal" abuse against his wife last year, had "specifically asked" viewers to target her.

Nyadol Nyuon is an award-winning Melbourne lawyer who came to Australia as a refugee aged 18. Picture: Ellen Smith
Nyadol Nyuon is an award-winning Melbourne lawyer who came to Australia as a refugee aged 18. Picture: Ellen Smith

As she predicted, abuse did follow, including from a South Australian police officer who has since been stood down from "operational duties".

"Stop blaming white man and pulling the race card you ignorant c**t," the officer reportedly wrote.

"If it's so f***ing bad here f**k off back to the war-torn shithole country you came from."

SA Police issued an apology for the "abhorrent" remarks.

The officer joins two other SA police officers on desk patrol while they're investigated after a video emerged showing an Aboriginal man being violently arrested on Monday.

Ms Nyuon said she has "no ill wishes against the officer and I am not after revenge".

She asked her followers on Twitter to report any abuse they saw but not engage with the abusers.

The eSafety Commissioner - Australia's "internet cop" - Julie Inman Grant then reached out to offer her assistance.

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She followed up the next day to say the matter had been "escalated" to Twitter.

"The cross-platform co-ordinated abuse can be particularly insidious and challenging to tackle - which is, of course, the aim of the perps," Ms Inman Grant wrote in a follow up.

"I hope (Ms Nyuon) did take some solace from the huge outpouring of concern and support for her," she said.

Cyber abuse has risen significantly in recent months, potentially due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Complaints about adult cyber abuse rose by 50 per cent during March and April when compared to last year's monthly average.

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner doesn't actually have any legislative power to investigate cyber abuse complaints, but it can help those targeted and provide advice on what they can do.

The eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant is Australia’s ‘internet cop’. Picture: Stuart McEvoy
The eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant is Australia’s ‘internet cop’. Picture: Stuart McEvoy

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In particularly serious cases, the Commissioner can go directly to the social media platforms to request harmful material is taken down, and where required refer the matters to law enforcement.

Escalation is rare and only done for a small proportion of cases.

"Cyber abuse is behaviour that uses technology to threaten, intimidate, harass or humiliate someone - with the intent to hurt them socially, psychologically or even physically. It can be highly damaging behaviour, especially when it turns into a full-scale social media pile-on," Ms Inman Grant told news.com.au.

"Our research has consistently indicated women are more likely to be targeted than men - and additional intersectional features, such as race or LGBTIQ status, can make them even more vulnerable.

"When we see something serious happening on social media or other platforms, we have escalation pathways that build on our good long-term relationships with the major social media platforms, and allow us to advocate for this harmful material to be removed as quickly as possible," she said.

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides a range of cyber abuse resources, including specific resources for women who are being abused online.

Ms Nyuon was contacted through representatives who said she appreciated the offer but did not want to comment further.

 

Originally published as Vile abuse after TV appearance


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