By: Jane Borges

What would you do if you were threatened, stalked or abused by a stranger on social media?

“Tell his mother,” is how one Australian journalist with over 40,000 Twitter followers on the web, decided to fight back her male harassers. The 21 year old media-savvy scribe tracked down the culprits’ mothers on the Web and sent them screenshots of what exactly their sons were up to. Her approach though rather amusing, was novel enough to embarrass the trolls, not to mention their families.

Unconventional measures to tackle trolls is gaining steam everywhere. And avid social media users in the sultanate are only taking the cue.

What’s Happening Muscat, Oman? (WHMO?), a popular group on Facebook with close to 10,000 members, recently upped its ante after several women members complained of being inundated with offensive messages and friend requests.

When the offenders did not stop despite repeated warnings, the group administrators – Ian Bradley, Dr Feras al Hamdani and Jo James – brainstormed an innovative plan.

“Name and Shame,” a post dedicated to trolls was up for its members, where they could publicly shame the trolls by tagging them, mentioning how they were being harassed, and even share screen grabs of offensive messages.

“We came up with the idea to ensure that our group is a pleasant place for everyone, unlike many other groups on Facebook, where some take advantage and violate privacy of other members. In a group containing thousands of members, such incidents happen on a daily basis. The principle behind this idea is the fact that human beings by nature don’t like to be known as the bad ones. Moreover, this way other members, who aren’t affected already by this intruder can easily block him from their own Facebook pages, preventing future incidents,” the administrators said, adding, “We want an active, yet safe environment for all our members.”

The administrators also clarified that the suspects are screened before any action is taken, with members having to provide some physical proof – like a screenshot – to check the veracity of their claims, before they go public. This is done to ensure that trolls do not misuse such a system. “Every screenshot is kept in a file, and when necessary, will be submitted to the right authorities to take further action,” they said.

Does it help?

The popularity of the post notwithstanding, the group administrators of WHMO? claim to have successfully forewarned suspects and even deleted notorious members.

But do these ingenious tactics really help deal with the troll menace. Experts feel that it only fuels trolls further.


Seeb edges Dhofar to reach Mazda Cup quarterfinals

Action from the match between Seeb and Dhofar on Monday

Seeb defeated Dhofar 2-1 to emerge as the topper from Group A and qualify for the quarterfinals of the Mazda Professional Cup at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Monday.

Despite the loss, Dhofar also made it into the last-eight stage, with Seeb and Dhofar both garnering 11 points from six games each. Seeb topped on better goal-difference.

In another Group A game, Al Nasr beat Bausher 2-0 in an inconsequential match with both teams out of race to advance.

In Group D, Fanja recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win over Sur to boost its chances of advancing as it moved past Sur by a point’s margin after four games each.

Current Omantel Professional League (OPL) leader Al Arouba has already booked its berth in the quarterfinals with ten points from four matches.

Also, Group B leader Saham and Sohar concluded their engagements on Monday with Saham notching up a 1-0 win over Sohar to finish on top with 14 points. Sohar was runner-up with ten. The other two teams in the group, Al Nahda and Al Khabourah, played out a 1-1 draw in a match of only academic interest.

In a Group C match, Al Shabab held Al Suwaiq to a 1-1 draw to keep its hopes alive in the three-team group that also features Al Musannah.

Musannah is currently on top of the group with seven points, followed by Shabab with five, while Suwaiq has four points after four matches.