Cyber-bullying and such has recently come into the consciousness and lexicon of the internet-using west. Incidents like the Star Wars kid or more tragically Megan Meier have made us more aware and wary of what us and our children are doing online.

In East Asia though, there is another type of cyber-bullying that hasn’t really been noticed so much here in the west yet. It’s called internet vigilantism, and this is where seemingly the entire internet attacks someone online, leading to real-life consequences.

There are cases of internet vigilantism in the west, but there has been almost no backlash against it because it’s almost always directed towards individuals that have committed fraud, theft, or pedophile crimes. 419 Eater is famous for baiting Nigerian scammers, and Anonymous/4chan (No link for 4chan. You don’t want to go there. Really, you don’t.) has baited and outed pedophiles in the past. Similarly there have been internet blitzes against people that have thrown dogs off of a cliff. Generally this kind of internet vigilantism results in people working to 1) identify the perpetrator 2) make their identity public, and 3) alert law enforcement. Especially in the case of the dog-throwing soldier there were also numerous death threats, etc., but overall the internet vigilantism served to bring the criminals to justice.

This isn’t how it’s been working in Asia, especially Korea. This article calls it ‘witch hunting’, which is perhaps a better term because many of these cases were not against criminals, but against normal people that had done something that people found offensive. The above article mentions the ‘loser girl‘:

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