Digital crime drama

New show re-enacts real stories of victims of online abuse

Suey Park. (Syfy)

Syfy’s new show, The Internet Ruined My Life, tells, and re-enacts, the stories of real-life people who became victims of online abuse. Women are particularly popular targets of online abuse, and not surprisingly subjects of the show’s first season include women such as Brianna Wu, a game developer who was targeted by members of Gamergate, and Suey Park, the activist who launched #CancelColbert to criticize comedian Stephen Colbert for a racially insensitive joke. Both women were driven from their homes at various points by death and rape threats made in concert with the online publication of their addresses and phone numbers.

The Internet Ruined My Life may not be the most realistic re-enactment — at one point in the show an actress playing Park reads a series of threats from someone claiming to be an ex-military sniper on her phone, only for the camera to suddenly cut to a man dressed in black loading a rifle across the street. In reality, there’s no evidence those texts came from a sniper — they could have come from anyone. But the harm online abuse can cause is real, and successfully prosecuting, deterring, or even identifying online attackers can be difficult, if not impossible.

Read the full story at Slate.

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