Online trolls battled by Swedish law firm
The Law and Internet Institute protected a Swedish woman who was told to kill herself by online trolls last year
A law professor in Sweden and founder of a non-profit law firm dedicated to fighting online trolls has explained that he formed the group to remind internet users that ‘real-life’ social conventions still apply on the web.
The Law and Internet Institute (Institutet för Juridik & Internet - IJI) was founded by Stockholm University civil law professor Mårten Schultz in February 2013.
According to its website, the team aims to “make the internet a better place”.
“When people use freedom of speech to hurt other people, they have a responsibility,” Mr Schultz said in an interview with website The Local.
"If I scream 'Whore!' in your face, I realize it might come back to bite me in the rear, but psychologists talk about dehumanizing the person on the other side of the cable, you don't see the person," Mr Schultz said.
"[The] Internet can stoke a mob mentality," Mr Schultz said regarding a case the firm dealt with in which a Swedish woman was abused online.
Last year, a the woman known as Julia was abused online after she complained that a t-shirt in H&M featured the rapper Tupac Shakur, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 1993.
Read more: Online trolls are psychopaths and sadists
10,000 racist slurs posted on Twitter each day, study finds
Woman becomes first person to be jailed for 'trolling herself'
"How do you think the woman who was raped feels when she sees his face in your stores, on your clothes," she wrote on the Swedish clothing giant's Facebook page last year, according to The Local.
The reaction to Julia's comments were violently personal and sexual, with some users of the social media website encouraged her to kill herself, while another wrote that they hoped Julia would be raped.
"You unite against a common enemy and egg each other one. It's a rabble,” Mr Schultz said of the case.
Julia reported the case to the police, but the case was closed after officers said it was difficult to carry out an investigation after the store erased the worst comments from its Facebook page.
Deciding to take the matter into their own hands, the IJI managed to find the names and address of several commenters. Using civil rather than criminal law, the team sent the online bullies a 5,000 kronor (£450) damages claims.
So far, one person has transferred the money, according to the website.
"It wasn't honourable to write what he wrote," said Mr Schultz, adding: "but it is honourable to confess to what he did, to take responsibility, and to pay up."
Meanwhile in the UK, the Government has backed tougher backed tougher laws on cyber stalkers. The new rules would target offenders who abuse or sexually harass victims using online platforms or on mobile phones.
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
- 2 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 3 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 4 Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence referendum live: Latest news as Scotland decides Yes or No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: Almost half of No voters have felt 'personally threatened' by the Yes campaign
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work at ...
£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...
£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...
£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experie...