Funding to launch Toxic Avenger Tribe and text message subscription service
Creating response tools that provide digital safety, legal solutions and just-in-time support to journalists of color who are targets of online abuse. (Media Innovation Collaboratory/TrollBusters
TALLAHASSEE (January 25, 2022) – Twenty-four mutual aid projects planned by BIPOC-led organizations across the United States recently received catalytic investments in their work, and TrollBusters and Dr. Michelle Ferrier was one of them.
Ferrier, founder of TrollBusters, launched TrollBusters in 2015 to help journalists deal with the rising toxic hate and online threats that challenged press freedoms around the globe. Through workshops, online education, coaching and a new magazine Toxic Avenger, TrollBusters has provided tactical solutions to combating the digital harms and social media threats fielded by journalists everyday.
Ferrier, a full professor in journalism at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and the former dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, established TrollBusters in 2015 to combat online harassment of women journalists. Her research has been published in the 2018 report: Attacks and Harassment: The Impact on Female Journalists and their Reporting, and the December 2021 analysis: “Social Media Policies Put Journalists at Risk,” in Columbia Journalism Review.
The Community Infrastructure Fund for Mutual Aid is supported by Omidyar Network, JustFund, Amalgamated Foundation, and Art in Praxis with investments designed to propel the work forward by supporting operational needs. All of the submissions to the open call demonstrated a strong commitment to place-based intersectional justice through their strategies for community-directed resources and support. TrollBusters was selected for their strategy of creating response tools that provide digital safety, legal solutions and just-in-time support to journalists of color who are targets of online abuse.
The $20,000 grant will help launch the Toxic Avenger Tribe, a text message-based subscription tool, to deliver just-in-time coaching, education, training and news to journalists on the go. Using the Subtext platform, subscribers can also communicate directly to Toxic Avenger Tribe channel hosts to send reports of bad behavior online. Hosts direct subscribers to resources and tactics to implement right now.
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TrollBusters, a project of the Media Innovation Collaboratory, provides just-in-time training, coaching and education to journalists operating in digital spaces. More information is available at http://www.troll-busters.com. The Media Innovation Collaboratory, is a Tallahassee-based educational nonprofit organization at http://www.mediacollab.org.