Media Moves

How a tech reporter was threatened after a Facebook story

July 15, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

Guardian tech reporter Julia Carrie Wong, who is based in San Francisco, talked with Anushka Asthana about the racist and sexist harassment that followed her story about how white nationalist groups were using Facebook.

She received an email over Thanksgiving about the story. “I opened it up, and it was a horrifying racist, slur-filled rape threat,” she said.

She dropped the phone and had to pretend that she hadn’t received it because she was at a Thanksgiving meal with her grandmother, who was ill.

It was one of dozens of hate mails that Wong received.

“Being a tech reporter, I guess, in this day and age, has come to include this intersection of extremism and hate,” said Wong.

When she alerted Facebook to the extremist groups on the social media site, “They did nothing,” she added.

The groups, said Wong, responded with “a lot of anger and a lot of hate.” They attacked her on social media and began a harassment campaign, dissecting her racial background.

“I try to pretend like this stuff doesn’t bother me…” she said. “At the same time, it is deeply disturbing.”

To listen, go here.

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