Actress sues to identify anonymous web trolls 

In a landmark lawsuit, well-known Estonian actress Marika Korolev made five anonymous commenters pay for insulting her online.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Actress sues to identify anonymous web trolls  - NewsMavens
Woman with phone, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Actress Marika Korolev has become a symbol in the fight against anonymous online abuse in Estonia.

Estonians usually respond to the issue of mean online comments with a shrug and advice not to read them. "Just ignore it!" they say. Not surprisingly, internet trolling has been flourishing there.

But why should rules on a web forum be different from the ones on the street? It's time for people to understand that you can be identified and made responsible for your words both on and off line.

Ironically, the hub for the most hideous anonymous comments in Estonia is a forum moderated by the Estonian Midwives Association. For years the organisation has turned a blind eye to the issue. 

Korolev's case changed the tone.

The judge decided that the Estonian Midwives Association had to give out the IP addresses of the biggest flamers who verbally abused her and charged the trolls "compensation for moral damages". 

The Estonian Midwives Association has started to moderate the comments more heavily and promised to hire more people if needed, to keep future discussions under control.

Details from the story:

  • Marika Korolev appeared in Pealtnägija, one of Estonia's most popular TV shows in 2015 discussing how her ex-husband was trying to evade paying child support.
  • Many anonymous commenters took the issue up in the forum of Perekool, a website owned by the Estonian Midwives Association. The talk about Korolev's family situation turned ugly. "I wonder how would a child feel knowing that his or her mother gave birth to get a house?" One commenter wrote. "Marika has been thinking with an organ that is located in the trousers, because she probably doesn't have another place for it." another said.
  • "Who are these people?" Marika wondered. "Have I insulted them in some way? Do I know them?"
  • Korolev turned to the Estonian Midwives Association for the IP addresses, so that she could identify the attackers. At first the association refused. But now, with the court's ruling, Korolev was able to finally bring the five biggest and abusive trolls to court and face them. To her surprise, they were all highly respected and educated people, whom Korolev had never met.
  • Three years later, she made the web insulters pay over 5,000 euros altogether in compensation.
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