"Ligue du LOL": Facebook Club for Hatred of Women
In a French Facebook group, men have coordinated digital attacks against women in particular - now they have been exposed. Among the group members are influential journalists and creative people.
A digital boy's club for malice and hatred, which included journalists, advertisers, graphic designers and computer scientists: France has become known for the existence of a Facebook group whose members have agreed to digital attacks, especially against women.
On Friday, the French newspaper "Libération" reported on the so-called Ligue du LOL ("LOL League"). Several victims of bullying had shared their experiences. Since then, other stakeholders have been sharing their social networking experiences - and for the first time since the group was formed nearly ten years ago, it is the members of the "LOL League" who are being attacked on the Net.
The journalist Vincent Glad, who also worked for the newspaper "Libération" until the scandal became known, opened the Facebook group in 2009. "It was not the goal of the group to harass women, but simply to have fun," he writes in a public statement on Twitter. "But our way of having fun quickly became very problematic." The social networks have been a kind of "playground" for the trolls. The extent and consequences of cyberbullying have only now become clear to him, he justifies himself.
"I felt as if I was running away from a sniper, happy to escape the virtual bullets of a crazy army," a feminist describes how she experienced the troll attacks on Twitter. "With every tweet, with every split photo, I was afraid of being knocked down." She was aware that she had to pay for any expression of opinion.
Threats and porn gifs
Feminist authors, journalists, and YouTube authors report on how they received sexist insults, as well as photomontages or pornographic GIFs on which images of their heads were mounted.
The journalist Lucile Bellan describes in a report for "Slate" how she and her partner were repeatedly attacked because of their feminist positions and what consequences the online attacks have for those affected. "These people are suspicious, they've left social networks, they've decided never to work for specific media," says Bellan.
Beauty blogger Capucine Piot also decided to leave Twitter because she could no longer bear the hate news. She was at some point convinced that she was worthless. "I came to a point where I hated myself, I had dark ideas," says the beauty blogger.
On Twitter circulates a "not complete" list listing 35 men who are said to have belonged to the "LOL League", as well as their Twitter usernames and sometimes their employers. "The group brought together some of the biggest Twitter talents of that time," the Libération newspaper quotes French podcaster Henry Michel, who used to own the "LOL Liga" himself.