Radio NZ abuse

There’s  and interesting issue of abuse on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint with John Campbell Facebook page.

Some fairly extreme abuse went on for several days, targeting John Key and his mother.

5:30 pm yesterday Whale Oil picked up on it and posted Why are RadioNZ and John Campbell allowing death threats against the Prime Minister?

6:36 pm David Farrar followed up with a post at Kiwiblog – Hate speech on the Radio NZ Checkpoint Facebook page. 

9:23 pm Farrar also commented about it on it on Twitter:

David Farrar @dpfdpf

The John Campbell Checkpoint Radio NZ FB page has some of the worst hate speech I have seen online. People saying…

9:30 pm this was followed by:

That’s a speedy response once Radio NZ found out. It has since been claimed they ended up deleting around a hundred comments.

Farrar had several digs at Radio NZ over funding, I don’t think that’s the issue here.

My guess is that Radio NZ had had relatively few problems with abusive comments and were caught out by a sudden spate of them. I’m sure they will be more vigilant in the future.

Danyl at Dim-Post joined in on this early this morning – The mysterious case of the hate speech comments on the RNZ Facebook page.

He suggested it looked suspicious.

So it seems really odd that people like Insane Clown Posse fan ‘Tim Wikidclownz‘ would all randomly one weekend decide to pour into a sleepy Radio New Zealand Facebook page and leave comments about gassing John Key’s mother and similar obscenities. And that WhaleOil, the guy who stumbled over that copy of The Luminaries uploaded to Mega that only the person who illegally uploaded it would know about, also stumbled over these.

This has been expanded on in comments.

I haven’t had a detailed look at the Radio NZ comments and they are now deleted, but some at least seem to have been made by people who look like they have been generally abusive. It’s not uncommon on Facebook.

Especially absent any evidence I doubt this was a sophisticated sting by Slater or associates. I’ve had first hand experience of that sort of thing here and there were differences.

I think it’s more likely someone saw the abuse and informed Slater or someone at Whale Oil who then put the post up to take a swipe at Radio NZ.

A good citizen would have informed Radio NZ so they could take appropriate action. It looks like Slater might have passed the story on to Farrar, who later advised radio NZ.Both could have done better but seemed more interested in dumping more on the state funding of Radio NZ

Farrar has followed up with another post today: Further on Radio NZ Facebook page

A few extra thoughts on the hate speech which was on the Radio NZ Checkpoint page.

Unless you vet comments in advance, no publisher can prevent inappropriate comments from appearing. I don’t think anyone blames Radio NZ for the fact they appeared.

Most won’t blame them, it’s unavoidable in forums with open access, as much of Facebook is.

But what one can judge on is how quickly they were removed. RNZ staff acted once there was publicity about it, but for an organisation with $35 million a year of taxpayer funding, the comments should have never lasted as long as they did.

No they shouldn’t. Someone at Radio NZ should probably have picked up on it.

And one would hope someone who noticed the problem would have informed them. That was less a priority than putting up blog posts.

Some salient points:

  1. Some of the comments had been up for three days or longer – conclusion no regular checking of the page.
  2. The comments were incredibly vile – massive use of the c word to describe the PM and one person saying his mother should have been gassed in the holocaust – how could people feel you can say such a thing on a Radio NZ page?
  3. Over 100 comments had to be deleted by RNZ staff, which was close to a quarter of the comments on the page. So this was not one or two comments that slipped through, but a mountain of vile abuse which dominated the page.
  4. No-one alerted RNZ to the comments before they got publicity. If someone used such language about a politician on KB, I’d have several e-mails within minutes from readers alerting me to it. But somehow no one reading the Radio NZ Checkpoint Facebook page thought the comments needed drawing to the attention of Radio NZ. This suggests that the only people on the page were those of a similar view on John Key.
  5. Has Radio NZ done anything beyond delete the comments? Have they reported those who made the most vile comments? Have they blocked them from the Radio NZ FB pages? Or are they free to do the same next time?

Apparently Radio NZ is investigating.

Of course as well as Dim-Post there’s been comment and accusations elsewhere. I’ve seen some on Twitter, but none with supporting evidence.

The irony of Whale Oil and Farrar highlighting and strongly criticising onlibe abuse has not gone unnoticed.

Whale Oil comments have been cleaned up but posts can still be fairly abusive and provocative, and Slater’s tactics online along with people associated with him are amongst the more despicable in New Zealand taking in to account the power imbalance involved.

Comments threads at Kiwiblog are not for the faint hearted, with abusive comments, lies and attacks common. But Farrar will address serious examples if they are pointed out to him.

And this is symptomatic of a major online problem. It can be a wild west where people seem to think they can have a free for all.

While moderation is necessary by those responsible for forums I think there are wider community responsibilities. I think it’s important to confront and stand up against online abuse.

But that’s sometimes not easy and not without substantial risks, as I have found out (I think justice will end up being done but it takes some time).

Online communities should be like any other communities, with responsibility for decent behaviour taken by all those taking part.

We are all learning as we go how to deal with a rapidly evolving online world. We need to keep looking at how to improve on what we have.

And this also requires politicians and media to show a lot more responsibility with their own behaviour and not encouraging and glorifying bad behaviour. More on that next post.

Leave a comment

44 Comments

  1. That’s rich coming from Farrar, who has allowed comments encouraging the rape of young students and other assorted hate speech on his blog.

    Not all of us have a goldfish memory, Farrar.

    Reply
    • Links please Ben…….

      Reply
      • https://mobile.twitter.com/BenSRachinger/status/520404523886469120

        You made me reactivate my Twitter just to link that. There’s several hundred more examples.

        What were you planning on doing with the proof? 🙂

        Reply
        • I plan nothing. I’m just making sure we have links to back up the statement….I get tired of accusations thrown around without backing.

          I’m just an observer Ben, not an involved party

          Reply
        • Besides… KB threads can be open sewers and the nasty stuff is only picked up when raised. The introduction of the Report Abuse button/link happened in response to some of the more vitriolic and insane comments taht appear on KB threads at time, mostly in the GD thread….

          By the way whatever screenshot accompanied the Twitter post is a dead link

          Reply
    • Kevin

       /  23rd February 2016

      To compare RNZ to Kiwiblog or even The Standard for that matter, is a tad unfair. The comments sections on both The Standard and Kiwiblog are cesspools but both The Standard and Kiwiblog are run by volunteers and don’t make any money. Also, with regards to The Standard, even though “robust” debate is encouraged, the level of vitriol has never been as much as what was on the RNS Facebook page. RNZ receives millions in public funding and it can afford to hire someone who’s full-time job it is to keep an eye on social media.

      Reply
      • “it can afford to hire someone who’s full-time job it is to keep an eye on social media”

        They can only afford that if they cut back on someone or something else.

        And it’s more than one full time job.

        Should Twitter and Facebook provide full time monitoring of everything posted on their sites?

        Reply
        • Kevin

           /  23rd February 2016

          If RNZ can’t afford to have someone looking after their Facebook page then they shouldn’t have a Facebook page. That’s assuming they didn’t have anyone watching their Facebook page. And if they did have someone watching their Facebook page then this means not only did they know about the comments, but tacitly approved them.

          Reply
  2. Mike C

     /  22nd February 2016

    @George

    Did you get any screen shots of the comments on that Radio New Zealand FakeBook Page of John Campbells?

    Reply
  3. those types of Facebook comments are just what you see on Facebook “discussion” threads. Morons talking gangsta – most of them wouldn’t recognise a National MP or policy if they trip over one…

    Reply
    • Mike C

       /  22nd February 2016

      @Dave1924

      Well … if the Police manage to track down the morons who wrote the comments … I expect them to be arrested and charged with something.

      Reply
      • Frankie… they have no cash, so fines won’t work. They have no jobs or self respect, so jail won’t work. Just ignore them and its as if they don’t exist. Don’t give them the oxygen of limelight shining on their drivel and they well expire…

        Reply
        • Mike C

           /  22nd February 2016

          @Dave

          I just want the “BeJesus” scared out of them … that’s all 🙂

          Reply
          • Bejesus and Begorrah…. Send for Father Ted then!!! Because not a lot else might impact and even Ted would struggle with them as their are no brains to engage..

            Reply
  4. The present pattern of activity in the anti_Government and attacks on John Key have to be orchestrated by Labour/Green supporters. The tempo and level of hysteria of anti-Government actions from those extremists groups bespeak the panic they face with the realisation they have shot their bolt, and are destined to exit the political scene. Their calls to action have crossed the line of reasonable civilised behaviour and should be responded to by firm action. I have always defended the right of people to be heard about their opinions, but every right attracts an obligation. In this case their protests must be limited to civilised protest, subject to objective assessment of their case. If they have merit on the side of their argument/opinion, then I will support them, but throwing obscene material at elected MPs is unaccetable and needs to be dealt with harshly.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  22nd February 2016

      ‘have to be orchestrated by Labour/Green supporters. ‘…talk about tinfoil hatter!!

      Reply
      • I’d like to see a link to back up that “orchestrated by Labour/Green supporters” assertion too BJ? And which ‘faction’ of Labour do you mean? Nah, look, you’d have to possess less than half-a-brain to risk the reflected shame and derision of being caught, surely?

        I don’t go along with the abusive stuff though. There are limits even to humour and passion. Another problem is a bit along the lines of “Holocaust denial”. What can you do that doesn’t give it oxygen?

        Reply
    • Rob

       /  23rd February 2016

      Labour and Greens combined at approx 40% Nats 47%, wouldn’t exactly call that ‘shot the bolt’ and about to exit. “….subject to objective assessment of their case.” Whose objective assessment, yours? I’m not so sure that would be a fair and balanced assessment. While I don’t agree with throwing things at people as injury can result, some are a bit more hot headed shall we say but you’re talking a small minority. During the TPP protest when traffic was blocked, there were those in here calling for batoning and use of water cannon on the protesters. For what, causing a fairly minor disruption? That’s what I would call crossing the line of reasonable civilised behaviour. ‘If they have merit’. In yours and others opinions the lefts actions don’t appear to have any merit at any time so I don’t think your assessment would be, again, fair and balanced. To be honest, by the sounds of some of your postings in here I think maybe you’d like to see us head down the road to a police state.

      Reply
  5. jamie

     /  23rd February 2016

    I imagine the comments section could easily be cleaned up by blocking the IP addresses of Cameron Slater and Juana Atkins.

    Reply
  6. Missy

     /  23rd February 2016

    I saw some of the comments, some were similar to what is seen on Stuff and NZ Herald Facebook pages from the John Key haters as well.

    At least Radio NZ deleted the posts, but a small part of me would have liked them to have remained and rather than delete them RNZ gone to the police over the one’s advocating killing John Key – I believe that making death threats is illegal in this country.

    I don’t buy the school of thought that death threats on Facebook aren’t serious and shouldn’t be acted upon. Abuse and bullying on social media is getting worse, and I think should be treated as it would be in real life. Just because someone is on the internet and semi-anonymous they shouldn’t get away with the sort of bullying they engage in – no matter who it is aimed at.

    No doubt certain posters here will come in and tell me how stupid I am, or that I am a John Key sycophant, or some other variant of that theme without actually addressing the main point I am making – which is that death threats on the internet should be treated the same as death threats provided in person or directly to the target.

    Also, if those that put up the death threats are investigated by the police, then those that buy into the theory it was Cam Slater & his commenters that put the posts up should welcome it, they would only be against such action if they really don’t believe what they are saying on twitter, this blog, and other blogs. Just saying.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  23rd February 2016

      you are both a John Key sycophant….and ….stupid.

      Reply
      • Missy

         /  23rd February 2016

        Congratulations Blazer, you have shown you are unable to read and comprehend what was written, and for the record I am neither (but you are obviously unable to understand what the phrase ‘no matter who it is aimed at’ means).

        Your comment is stupid, I don’t know you so can only judge you on your comments here, which do nothing to promote intelligent debate. I don’t profess to know everything about someone based on what they write on a blog – I am not that arrogant, but I do think anyone who thinks they know what someone is like based on what they write on the internet, without actually meeting them face to face comes across as incredibly arrogant, and a little up themselves.

        Perhaps you would like to actually address my point? or is it over your head?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  23rd February 2016

          ‘No doubt certain posters here will come in and tell me how stupid I am, or that I am a John Key sycophant’…..didn’t want to disappoint you….mind you I will in the future…..people without a SOH are so banal.

          Reply
          • Missy

             /  23rd February 2016

            Actually you did disappoint, I had hoped that comment would prompt the posters like you to actually read and comprehend the comment and view without resorting to immature comments or default ‘I hate the government so anything that seems to be supporting them is stupid and wrong’ comments. Guess I was wrong and you are unable to read, comprehend, and intelligently and maturely respond.

            Reply
            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  23rd February 2016

              Don’t feed the resident troll Missy…….

            • mrMan

               /  23rd February 2016

              Stop being so humourless.

              As to what you actually said…. Have you really seen these things written on Stuff to the Herald? Both of those sites hold comments for moderation before they are posted, so I find it very hard to believe that calls for death and gassing have ever made it through
              As to leaving them there… you want those who did this to be held to the law by RNZ, whilst at the same time you’d have them ignore another law that forbids hate speech?
              And is there really ‘a school of thought that death threats on Facebook aren’t serious and shouldn’t be acted upon’ ? I’ve never heard that, at all.
              There’s a school of thought that says Facebook is far too prudish when it removes photos of brass statues because they are naked, or outlaws female nipples but not male nipples, or breast feeding women, even sexism/racism that is within the bounds of decency. All criticism of Facebook is about censorship, not that it’s full of death threats that never get taken down because “free speech”.
              So, is the point you’re making really “that death threats on the internet should be treated the same as death threats provided in person or directly to the target”? Because it seems to be that you were saying that whilst death threats are serious they should be allowed to stay on the internet forever, because you love john key and are stupid and people need to learn that they can’t say bad things.

              The only sensible thing you said was that it clearly wasn’t Slater.

              And then you adopt a holier than thou stance, and call Blazer stupid, while at the same time trying to claim that you’re not arrogant. HA.

              It’s very hard to respond intelligently to the inane dribbling of an aged sycophant.

            • Missy

               /  23rd February 2016

              “Stop being so humourless.”

              I can be whatever I want, it is not up to you to tell me how to be, so don;t,

              “As to what you actually said…. Have you really seen these things written on Stuff to the Herald? Both of those sites hold comments for moderation before they are posted, so I find it very hard to believe that calls for death and gassing have ever made it through”

              Did you actually read what I said? I said on their Facebook pages, and yes I have seen many people talk about wanting to kill the PM on their Facebook pages.

              “And is there really ‘a school of thought that death threats on Facebook aren’t serious and shouldn’t be acted upon’ ? I’ve never heard that, at all.”

              Well, I am just going on the people I have seen write on FB, blogs, and say in person that it is only Facebook and nobody takes FB seriously. Maybe you aren’t as widely read? or know a wide range of people? Or maybe you just read and associate with a more genteel sort of person.

              “And then you adopt a holier than thou stance, and call Blazer stupid, while at the same time trying to claim that you’re not arrogant. HA.”

              I didn’t call Blazer stupid, I said his comment was stupid. Please read and comprehend.

              “It’s very hard to respond intelligently to the inane dribbling of an aged sycophant.”

              You are so right – thanks for that tip, I will stop trying to respond intelligently to Blazer & co. Though, unless you know him personally I think it is harsh to call Blazer aged.

            • mrMan

               /  23rd February 2016

              “I will stop trying to respond intelligently to Blazer & co. Though, unless you know him personally I think it is harsh to call Blazer aged.”

              Congratulations. You’ve concluded your argue meant with “I know you are, but what am I”?

              Nice one.

            • @ Missy – Blazer is sometimes funny, but not in this case. He’s often intelligent too and always of dubious maturity …

              I don’t know about the technical side of the internet & computers, but what you are saying seems to lend credence to the idea of anyone who posts online at least being identifiable somehow? I mean like “upon investigation”.

              Someone then has to decide whether a person’s posts warrant them being investigated? I wonder what implications this would have on police resources?

              I sense I am entering a minefield here. We then have dilemmas about investigation in advance – who is writing things that “might” be dangerous – overseeing the monitors – and false threats specifically for the purpose of engendering investigation, e.g. to overload police resources, lay a false trail, juvenile stupidity etc.

              I don’t know where I stand exactly but I agree that the more stupidity and malevolence is exhibited, the more ‘controls’ or ID’s will seem justified.

            • mrMan

               /  23rd February 2016

              “more ‘controls’ or ID’s will seem justified.”
              And we are all equal though some are more equal than others.

              When you start advocating for more control or oversight on the internet, you start down a very slippery slope.

            • @ mrMan – Yes and note the word “seem”.

              Just thinking out loud here. If legitimate intelligent use of the internet is the “summit ridge” there are slippery slopes on both sides IMO.

              I mean there clearly IS radicalisation taking place to recruit for ISIS? That’s an extreme example.

              A fragile mind might conceivably be tipped over the edge by online suggestions of killing someone?

              Anyhow, I gather its dealt with by taking the posts down? There’s a big issue of bullying and malignant, hate speech though, surely?

            • Missy

               /  23rd February 2016

              “@ Missy – Blazer is sometimes funny, but not in this case. He’s often intelligent too and always of dubious maturity …”

              I must disagree with part of that, I have very rarely found him funny, then again, I have been told tonight I am humourless, so maybe that is why I do not find him – or those like him funny. Though, I often have found him of dubious maturity, though I will confess that due to time differences I am not across the blog as much as I used to be, so will reserve my opinion on the intelligent comment.

              “I don’t know about the technical side of the internet & computers, but what you are saying seems to lend credence to the idea of anyone who posts online at least being identifiable somehow? I mean like “upon investigation”.”

              Well, my mantra – and that of many I know (some in law enforcement) is that nothing on the internet is private, and eventually it can all be traced back to the user. So, I take it that everything you do on the internet is eventually able to be traced to you.

              “Someone then has to decide whether a person’s posts warrant them being investigated? I wonder what implications this would have on police resources?”

              True, that would be up to the police acting on a complaint I would assume, there is precedence for it though. Here in the UK a man has been convicted of a crime (I can’t remember what) based on his FB updates, and comments, last year a number of people were investigated and charged for making death threats based on tweets they made, also a few years ago someone was convicted of an offense when making a joke about a bomb threat at an airport on twitter. I realise this is not NZ, but it is not unheard of, or impossible to do, but it would mean that there would probably need to be more police resources. Though, in saying that, I understand there is a police unit that monitors and investigates social media postings in NZ, I believe some criminals have been caught via this method.

              “I sense I am entering a minefield here. We then have dilemmas about investigation in advance – who is writing things that “might” be dangerous – overseeing the monitors – and false threats specifically for the purpose of engendering investigation, e.g. to overload police resources, lay a false trail, juvenile stupidity etc.”

              True, but there has to be some personal responsibility for what people say online, and it appears in NZ that there isn’t any. People seem to be able to say what they want with no consequences, and that should not be allowed to continue, I reckon it would only take one or two prosecutions for most people to stop and think about what they are posting and saying.

              “I don’t know where I stand exactly but I agree that the more stupidity and malevolence is exhibited, the more ‘controls’ or ID’s will seem justified.”

              That is true, if people were more responsible about what they posted then there would be no excuse for more draconian laws, but as long as people think they can get away with comments on social media advocating for assassinations, and making threats against persons, then that opens the opportunity for a politician down the track to put in place more laws limiting its use – look at what China does, most of their laws around the use of the internet are under the guise of protecting the people.

            • @ Missy – We do have a bit of fun on here too. Have you checked out ‘Playlist’ on Open Forum of an evening?

              Blazer’s one of that ‘Night Crew’ and during the day I get quite a few laughs out of him, many with sharp barbs attached …

              He implied (or straight-out said) you had no SOH so I thought I’d lay a little bait for him ……….. it hasn’t worked

    • Jeeves

       /  23rd February 2016

      There is a difference between advocating for someone’s death, and making a death threat.

      Just as there is a difference between misquoting a comment, and misreading a comment.

      You say there are death threats- can you quote them?

      Reply
      • mrMan

         /  23rd February 2016

        The language of the posts I’ve seen was all of the ” I would like to…” or “Someone should..”
        rather than the actual threat language like “I’m going to….”.

        I doubt that the police would press charges if it gets that far.

        Reply
      • Missy

         /  23rd February 2016

        Since they have been removed, no I can’t quote them, and it was a few days ago and since I don’t have a photographic memory I can only paraphrase, but i did see some where people talked about killing John Key.

        Reply
        • Jeeves

           /  23rd February 2016

          Yes- but that’s exactly what you are doing too. You are talking about killing John Key.
          And worse than that you are accusing others of making death threats against him. But when challenged- you start ‘paraphrasing’.

          So when other people ‘talk about’ killing John Key- you want them arrested and charged with making death threats-
          but when you ‘talk about’ killing John Key- you are just ‘paraphrasing’…

          If words are dangerous- then exercise more care with yours, especially when ‘paraphrasing’ the words of others.

          Reply
          • Ummm, Jeeves … to quote yourself, “there is a difference between misquoting a comment, and misreading a comment”

            IMO, there’s a difference between talking about killing someone – incitement – and talking about people talking about killing someone – discussion.

            If there wasn’t, we’d have a hard time talking about anything at all on here.

            In the same way I don’t want to talk about acid with Kiwi Guy and Grumpy, or tapping with Timoti and shooting with BJMarsh1, I respect Missy’s not quoting specific hate speech, even if only due to its inaccessibility to her.

            It’s like the issue of censoring “details of suicide” in the media, regards the possibility of copy-cat.

            Reply
  7. Pete Kane

     /  23rd February 2016

    “A good citizen would have informed Radio NZ so they could take appropriate action. It looks like Slater might have passed the story on to Farrar, who later advised radio NZ. Both could have done better but seemed more interested in dumping more on the state funding of Radio NZ.”

    PG makes a fair point given Farrar is a regular panellist on RNZ, an arrangement I suspect serves both he and his business well. Obviously no love loss between Slater and RNZ so fair cop there (that’s assuming WO is not involved).

    Good reason for RNZ to keep away from Facebook. Actually they were a bit naïve not to think John Campbell could (would) be vulnerable to this sort of activity.

    Reply

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