An anti-suicide crisis hotline for young LGBTQI members in the United States, the Trevor Project, was hit by a malicious trolling campaign recently.Trigger Warning: This story discusses suicide and contains slurs against the LGBTQ+ community, which might be distressing to some readers.
For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.The trolls, a term used to describe those who post inflammatory, aggressive, insincere, and extreme topics on social media, were users from the far-right website 4chan.A spokesperson for the Trevor Project, Kevin Wong had told Buzzfeed News that its helpline was flooded with fake cries for help and other trolling, which led to an increase in wait time for those in genuine need of help.“They inundated our crisis services — the crisis services that are meant for LGBTQ young people to connect with a trained counsellor so that they can talk through some of the stuff and get support through some of the things that they’re finding challenging,” Wong said.“It’s appalling — that’s the word I would use — that anyone would want to stop someone from finding services to prevent them from attempting suicide.”Dubbed Operation Gomorrah, a reference to the bombing of Hamburg during World War II, the coordinated attack originated on a 4chan message board where users were directed to use the Trevor Project’s digital chat or text support and “make up some bullshit.”“Fuck up the queue so sodomites and fags commit suicide due to being unable to receive assistance,” one message on the board read.Senior Researcher from Media Matters, Alex Kaplan had taken screenshots of the 4chan forum where trolls discussed.
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