Anonymous is claiming that Kody Maxson, a 30-year-old (former?) Facebook employee living in New Westminster, British Columbia, is the man who allegedly harassed Vancouver-area 15-year-old Amanda Todd so relentlessly that she took her own life on Oct. 10. In their YouTube video, a Guy Fawkes-outfitted anonybro with an auto-tuned voice reports that Anonymous has discovered a connection between Maxson and Todd, and it looks pretty damning.
Linking to a Pastebin page with Maxson's personal information, Anonymous lays out pretty specific personal information. Vice takes it a step further by publishing information that allegedly connects the two — including screenshots of Google Maps near Maxson's house, more of Maxson's personal info, and screenshots of jailbait websites accounts that appear to link Maxson and Todd. Even though they've blurred out some of the names, you can see the disturbing association painted pretty clearly.
If Maxson is the creep who Anonymous alleges him to be, he's in for a world of pain, as Facebook groups have already popped up with names like, "Kody maxson WILL die," and "Kody Maxson Better Sleep With 1 Eye Open." After all, he would be the principal orchestrator of Todd's misery — the one who originally asked her to flash him, and then proceeded to hunt her down online a year later, demanding (according to the notes in her heartbreaking video) that she put on a show for him or he'd expose her. She didn't, and what happened next is truly awful:
That's when Amanda got "really sick" — she was diagnosed with depression and started drinking and doing drugs to get rid of the anxiety. It didn't help, and the bullying, which grew more intense as more and more people found out about the naked photos, didn't stop. The man created a Facebook page with a list of her friends and school, using Amanda's naked chest as his profile photo. She changed schools, but the bullying followed her there, too. (That's the thing about the internet.)
As we know, the harassment continued, and eventually culminated in Todd committing suicide. The story blew up but, as usual in cases like this, it was too late to help the actual victim. As Katie rightfully points out:
But the power of internet anonymity - the sense that you can say whatever you want online, that it doesn't matter - exacerbates the issue, as does a culture that sends young women (and everyone else) mixed messages by teaching them that the only way they'll be loved is if they show off their bodies, unless they do it too often/the wrong way/to the wrong people, in which case, they're sluts.
In light of Gawker's exposure of notorious troll Violentacrez, and Katie's article about CreepShot-posting creeps being called out, it feels like there's steady momentum in the direction of increased intolerance of this specific brand of internet bullshit.
Maybe taking away the anonymity of these people won't completely solve the problem, but perhaps it'll slow things down, allowing would-be harassers to think twice. It likely won't stop the real psychopaths, those hell-bent on being creeps, but it'll probably encourage people who aren't 100 percent devoted to being gross to put the brakes on. Plus, there is so much power in peers telling peers: "Hey, what you're doing isn't cool, so knock it the fuck off." I'm guessing that's our most effective weapon in bully culture, the ability of everyone on the sidelines to say, "Shut it down, weirdo!" Threatening to expose their asses is the internet equivalent of a badge of shame, but perhaps worse; trite as it is, you can't take the internet off at the end of the day. Your name will always be out there, forever branded. Don't believe me? Just Google "Michael Brutsch."