Abuse and threats aimed at wheelchair user over faked photo
A Newcastle woman claims to have received death threats online after being turned into an Internet meme that mocked her use in a wheelchair.
Emily Morison, 24, woke up last week with messages from friends about one of her photos that had been edited to include a pro-Trump message she hadn’t written.
Comments included telling her to “push herself off a cliff”, and another encouraging murder, she said.
Facebook has removed the post, but TikTok hasn’t.
Morison is a blogger who writes about accessibility and equality.
On June 14, she woke up to see the edited photo surfaced on Facebook and TikTok, with an attached “joke” that made fun of her wheelchair use – and had been shared tens of thousands of times on both platforms.
Two days later, Ms. Morison decided to write her thoughts in an open letter to one of the people who shared the post.
“I can’t describe the effect your actions have had on me,” he wrote.
“In recent years, I have lost the ability to walk and have undergone several surgeries … but nothing compares to being watched and mocked by thousands of strangers.
“I have spent the last few days fighting with really dark thoughts about myself and my life because of what these people have said about me,” he wrote.
Morison told the BBC that while online trolling was not without victims, he was looking for no mercy.
“Instead, it’s a real and tangible desire for change where people think for a moment before posting something online about the person at the end of the reception,” he said.
His posts on the abuse on Twitter and Facebook have been shared thousands of times and have prompted support.
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It is not the first time that this image appears – Ms. Morison was subjected to similar abuses on Twitter when the falsified photo – stolen from her Instagram account – appeared there on Christmas Eve last year. Twitter removed the photo within 24 hours.
This time, Facebook had removed the post when it published its open letter on the platform Tuesday afternoon – but TikTok did not have, despite “multiple requests,” said Morison.
The owner of the account that posted it on TikTok eventually removed the post on his own, after public pressure.
But both platforms had initially told her that the stolen and corrupt photo did not break any guidelines.
Facebook removed the post after appeals from Ms Morison and many of her friends against the initial decision, she said.
Both Facebook and TikTok have been contacted for comment.