Recent Press

March 2018

TrollBusters was featured in the International Association of Women in Radio and Television’s new safety handbook for women journalists. Ferrier describes tactics journalists can use online to counter abusive threats. A printed version of the handbook was distributed to attendees of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in Manhattan.

March 7, 2018

TrollBusters was featured in Liberation as one solution for journalists.

TrollBusters was also featured in the Spanish press (in Spanish). “El acoso es increíble. Recibir amenazas de muerte o de violación se está volviendo cada vez más habitual”, afirma. “No se trata solo de denigrar su trabajo; rebuscan en las redes sociales para acosar desde todos los frentes. El objetivo es someterlas a toda la presión posible para intentar que se vengan abajo.”

February, 2018

A new book, Mediating Misogyny: Gender, Technology and Harassment, features a chapter from TrollBusters founder Dr. Michelle Ferrier about her efforts to curtail online abuse of women journalists.

February 20, 2018

IJNet features TrollBusters’ services. Read.  

January 22, 2018

KALW’s City Visions program in California interviews TrollBusters founder Dr. Michelle Ferrier on the growing online abuse of women and journalists in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

December 1, 2017

Ferrier, Michelle. “Online Abuse Stifles Women Journalists Around the Globe,” London School of Economics and Political Science, Centre for Women, Peace and Security, December 1, 2017.

November 13, 2017

TrollBusters Founder Part of AI Panel at WVU

Dr. Michelle Ferrier, second from left, says algorithms are not neutral. “Algorithms have baked-in biases that can have unintended consequences,” Ferrier said.

October 13, 2017

Newmark Foundation Grant to Enable Research by IWMF and TrollBusters on Online Harassment of Female Journalists in U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC/ATHENS, OHIO–The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has just received a grant from the Craig Newmark Foundation to conduct research in the United States on online harassment of women journalists. Dr. Michelle Ferrier, founder of TrollBusters, will be the principal investigator on the project, while Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) of California will provide survey support.


The research will enable the community to better understand the breadth and depth of how online trolling impacts female journalists – abuse that is almost always violent or sexualized in nature when directed at women – and aimed at silencing and censoring them. A Demos think tank survey from 2014 of harassment on Twitter found that female journalists receive roughly three times as much abuse as their male counterparts. Meanwhile, the IWMF’s 2014 report “Violence and Harassment against Women in the News Media; A Global Picture,” revealed that two-thirds of those surveyed experienced acts of intimidation, threats and abuse, in person or online.

“The numbers are difficult to pin down, but this is one of the most pernicious problems facing women journalists today,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of the IWMF. “We are regularly hearing anecdotes and testimonials of American women journalists experiencing a surge in online harassment. The data collected through this study will enable us to truly understand the size and scope of the problem, which is essential to mounting an effective response and supporting female journalists who live with this threat.” It is widely believed that many women do not speak up about online abuse due to fears of being ignored or that it will escalate the problem.

Ferrier has been conducting interviews with women journalists since the election to find the ways in which they build resilience following online harassment. An associate professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, Ferrier was honored in 2017 with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Community Service Award for the just-in-time rescue work of and its online protection awareness, support and educational materials.

Ferrier, who launched her social venture two years ago, says the project will help inform international strategies.

“We need research that illuminates the significant emotional and work stresses that online harassment places on journalists who are targets,” Ferrier said. “And that the effects on the individual and the free press have global consequences.”

The IWMF plans to release the research report in Summer 2018.

#                      #                      #

International Women’s Media Foundation: Since 1990, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has worked to unleash the potential of women journalists as champions of press freedom to transform the global news media. We seek to ensure that women journalists worldwide are fully supported, protected, recognized and rewarded for their vital contributions at all levels of the news media. As a result, consumers will increase their demand for news with a diversity of voices, stories and perspectives as a cornerstone of democracy and free expression.

Michelle Ferrier, PhD, the founder of TrollBusters was herself a target of hate mail and online harassment. The first African-American columnist for a Florida daily newspaper, she was forced to leave her job as a columnist and online community manager after receiving threats from white supremacists. She developed TrollBusters in 2015 to provide just-in-time services to women journalists with support from IWMF and the Knight Foundation.


December 15, 2016 

TrollBusters Founder Dr. Michelle Ferrier received one of 10 of the 2017 SXSW Community Service Awards that reflect the heart and soul of the SXSW Interactive event in Austin, Tex. Like the co-founder of SXSW Interactive, Dewey Winburne, these 10 honorees are doing work to make a positive difference in their communities through technology.
SXSW Community Service Awards
TrollBusters Founder Dr. Michelle Ferrier speaks with Dorothy Winburne, widow of Dewey Winburne for whom the community service award is named.

Cyber Law & Business Report [December, 20, 2017] “2017 CLBR Hero: Michelle Ferrier, Founder of Trollbusters.” 

Vice [June 22, 2017] “How This ‘Online Pest Control’ Is Combating Trolls,” by Allison Tierney.

Fair [August 29, 2016] “TrollBusters Combat Online Harassment of Women, With Love,”  by Federica Tedeschi.

The Mary Sue [June 17, 2016] “Michelle Ferrier’s TrollBusters Gives Women Writers “Pest Control” For Online Harassment,” by Maddy Myers:

EContent [June 10, 2016] “A Conversation with TrollBusters Founder, Dr. Michelle Ferrier,” by Nancy Davis Kho (Q and A with Michelle Ferrier)

New York Times [May 16, 2016] Lessons for Stopping an Adult Cyberbully,” by Elizabeth Bernstein:

NTEN (NonProfit Technology Network) [April 20, 2016] “Q&A With Trollbusters’ Founder, Michelle Ferrier,” by Steph Routh (with Michelle Ferrier)

 The Daily Rumpus, [April 15, 2016] “A Hedge of Protection,” by Adam Keller:

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media [2016]: New Challenges to Freedom of Expression: Countering Online Abuse of Female Journalists, “Beyond anecdotal reports: Some hard data about the online abuse of women journalists,” by Elisa Lee Munoz, International Women’s Media Foundation, Vienna, Austria.

Dr. Michelle Ferrier speaks at the European Commission on online abuse.

The Guardian [April 13, 2016] “Online abuse: how women are fighting back”: by Leigh Alexander : Https://

All Digitocracy, [April 4, 2016] “Women journalists experience gendered attacks. for women journalists of color the abuse is often much worse,” by Sherri Williams:

Bustle [March 21, 2016] “TrollBusters Supports Women Writers On Twitter, Plus 3 More Resources To Deal With Online Harassment” by Suzanne Weiss:

Texas Monthly [March 15, 2016] “The SXSW Online Harassment Summit was a small but necessary step forward,” by Doyin Oyeniyi:

KEYE-TV [March 12, 2016] “Security tight at first ever SXSW Online Harassment Summit,” by Nadia Galindo:

The Daily Pot [February 18, 2016] “Troll Busters helps protect women writers from online bullies,” by Marisa Kabas:

Nieman LabFoundation at Harvard [February 16, 2016] “Brain food: Here are 15 smart people talking for 5 minutes each about journalism’s future: on fighting harassment,” by Joshua Benton.

All Digitocracy, [December 3, 2015] “Women journalists of color hit harder by harassment,” by Tracie Powell:

All Digitocracy, [December 3, 2015] “Combating Hate Speech Against Women Journalists On Twitter,” by Tracie Powell:

Glamour Magazine, [December 1, 2015] “3 Women Who Fight Back Against Online Bullying,” by Staff:

The Newspaper Guild, [November 1, 2015] “Women, Journalism, Harassment Panel, Dec. 1, by Staff :

The Post [September 21, 2015] “TrollBusters, which aims to combat cyber harassment,” by Brian Fogel:

Columbia Journalism Review, [July/August Edition , 2015] “The invaluable service of TrollBusters,” by by Lene Bech Sillesen, CJR Delacorte Fellow:

Knight Digital Media Center [March 4, 2015] “TrollBusters: Strategies to Preserve Constructive Online Discourse,” by Amy Gahran:

TSOD (Training Services On Demand) [February 27, 2015] “Cyberbullied Educator Creates Trollbuster,” by Collin Hanner:

International Press Institute (English version) [February 24, 2015] “New App to Fight Online Abuse,” by Louisa Reynolds:

International Journalists’ Network (IJNet) [February 23, 2015] “Tips and Tools for Journalists to Deal with Online Harassment,” by Natasha Tynes:

Boston Globe [February 13, 2015] “TrollBusters app Goes After Misogyny Online,” by Louisa Reynolds:

WOUB Public Media: [February 11, 2015] “Interview with Michelle Ferrier and TrollBusters,”

Committee to Protect Journalists [February 10, 2015] “TrollBusters App Takes on those Seeking to Silence Women Writers,” by Louisa Reynolds:

All Digitocracy [February 1, 2015] “Combatting Hate Speech Against Women on Twitter,” by Tracie Powell:


Diario Digital: [February 9, 2015] “TrollBusters,” by Luis Assardo:

International Press Institute: [February 10, 2015] “New app to fight online abuse: TrollBusters to use technology to identify harassers, support victims,” by Louisa Reynolds (Spanish version):

Estrategia&Negocios: [February 13, 2015] “Herramienta para combater acoso cibernetico contra mujeres,” by Louisa Reynolds:ético-contra-mujeres [March 31, 2015] “Revisa estos consejos y herramientas para enfrentar el acoiso en linea,” by IJNet


Panelist, RightsCon Toronto, “Take Back the Net: Innovations in Tackling Online Hate and Harassment,” May 17, 2018, Toronto, Canada

Panelist, National Press Club & PEN America. “Trolling the News: Protecting Journalists from Online Harassment,” April 27, 2018, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Speaker, Freedom Forum. March 2018, Las Naves Innovation Center of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Panelist, United Nations 62nd Commission on the Status of Women. “Tackling Gender Bias in MediaIndustries,” and “MeTooOnline: Workshopping Solutions to Counter Cyber Violence Against Women,” March 2018, UN Headquarters, New York, New York

Faculty, Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute, January 2013-2018, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona.

Trainer, KQED. November 30, 2017.

Panelist, International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, November 2, 2017, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Trainer, Safety of Female Journalists Online, OSCE, October 2017.

Presenter, Journalism Interactive 2017, October 20-21, 2017, College Park, Maryland.

Presenter, NABJ, “Journalists of Color and Online Harassment: Individual Impact and News Consequences,” August 9, 2017, New Orleans, Louisiana,

Presenter, International Association for Media and Communication Research, “Women Journalists and Online Harassment: Impact and Consequences,” July 18, 2017, Cartagena, Colombia.

Trainer, Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media, March 19-24, 2017.

Trainer, Kiplinger Fellows Program.

Invited Participant, Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights, November 17-18, 2016, Brussels, Belgium.

Panelist. Social Media Weekend, “Online Harassment and TrollBusters,” June 10, 2016, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, New York.

Panelist. News Impact Summit. “Trolls, Corruption, Falsehood: Reporting ‘Truth’ in the Digital Age,” May 12, 2016, European Journalism Centre, London School of Economics, London.

Panelist. SXSW Online Harassment Summit 2016, “Tech and the United Front Against Online Hate”, March 12, 2016, SXSW, Austin, Texas.

Ignite Talk Speaker, Newsgeist 2015, “Hate Mail, Love Letters; Online Harassment and the Threat to Journalism,” November 11, 2015, Newsgeist/Google, Phoenix, Arizona. Video:

Keynote Speaker. Online News Association 2015, “We Belong Here: Pushing Back Against Online Harassment”, September 25, 2015, Online News Association, Los Angeles, California.

Presenter. World Press Freedom Day 2015, “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality & Media Safety in the Digital Age,” May 1, 2015, UNESCO, United Nations, New York.


TrollBusters founder Michelle Ferrier speaks as part of the Safety of Female Journalists Online project for The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. [February, 2018] WATCH

TrollBusters founder Michelle Ferrier speaks on a panel for The International Association of Women in Radio & Television, “#MeTooOnline: Workshopping Solutions to Counter Cyber Violence Against Women.” [MARCH 2018] WATCH

Gender Links News Service
Segment on TrollBusters and the #MeToo movement and why Dr. Michelle Ferrier, founder of TrollBusters, feels there’s a privilege to being able to speak out and there are many silenced stories that the #MeToo movement has left behind. [APRIL 2018] LISTEN

Newsgeist 2015 Ignite Talk by Michelle Ferrier
2015 11 30 posted by Chris Shipley
“Hate Mail, Love Letters: Online Harassment and the Threat to Journalism”

CBC Radio
2016 03 12 with Sook-Yin Lee (radio interview/audio clip)
“Trollbusters: Fighting to keep women writers online”

91.7, 88.5 Radio
2016 05 10 by Mark Heyne (audio clip)
“The Founder Of TrollBusters On Fighting Online Harassment”

KALW Radio
2018 01 22
“City Visions: Combating Online Violence and Harassment” 


April 2021: Dr. Michelle Ferrier and TrollBusters are featured in the PEN America report “No Excuse for Abuse.” Ferrier served as an expert reviewer for initial drafts of the report and provided strategies from TrollBusters’ work since 2015 in online harassment.

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