Updated: May 23
Troll ringleader is banned from Reddit... if what they were doing was so virtuous, then why would that happen?
Earlier today we saw a big development in us holding those who are criminally trolling Lighthouse International Group accountable! Not only has one of the most active trolls (u/throwawayeducovictim) had all of their posts and their comments on Reddit deleted, but those behind the defamatory subreddit about Lighthouse International Group have made it private to now try and hide their illegal and unlawful activity. We have all of the evidence and they are in a lot of trouble! They have been warned repeatedly and here we are.
For such a drastic step to be made and for one user to have ALL their posts and comments deleted from Reddit means that someone of influence has recognised there is something deeply and fundamentally wrong with what Reddit user u/throwawayeducovictim has been doing online. I have personally been privy to information as to who this person actually is and the damage they have done to many others before including a very recent criminal record for exactly the same damage they are perpetuating here! I cannot share more now for legal reasons, but what I can say is that it is very very damning!
Lighthouse International Group has had nothing to do with the publication of information about the person behind the pseudonym, but what is revealed is extremely incriminating. All will be revealed very soon and all of those who have associated with this person are in for a hell of a fright! They have incriminated themselves by association.
The freedom of speech by the press and by anonymous trolls has been abused and it must stop as championed by Paul Waugh in this video.
Since December 2021 we have seen almost 200 negative posts written with the intent to destroy Lighthouse International Group, its people and projects on a biased and prejudiced subreddit. Not only that, but more than half of these have been by this one user! What’s incredible is that this is someone who has never met or had any contact with our work to help everyday goodhearted people identify and overcome the barriers and restraining forces to building the value required to never need to say no to help a child inside or outside of their front door.
We have long predicted the deletion of defamatory posts as those trolling us see that freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequence… anonymity does not protect from being held accountable as a perpetrator of illegal, unlawful and criminal behaviour. With the removal of posts from a ringleader, we literally saw our trolls panic in real-time by making their subreddit a private one before then having to take it offline because no one wanted to take responsibility for this group. I can understand why other trolls don’t want to be a moderator of the subreddit because they know they have a lot to hide too and if u/throwawayeducovictim has been identified then they will be too. We do, however, have records of all the incriminating posts and comments; all the mocking, all the scorning, all the malice. Now we are just getting started!
UPDATE: Since publishing this article, there has been a new group started on Reddit. Why a new group? It's an indicator of how quickly someone will be left hanging out to dry when things get tough. For anyone involved in this new group, it's not us you need to worry about, you need to worry about each other... because you can expect the same from others when things get tough and you're in need. Choose who you associate yourself with very carefully. That's what we do even more carefully after what we've learnt through this experience and we advise you to do the same.
SECOND UPDATE (22.5.22): As has been shared online with glee, the original Reddit group has been reinstated. Seeing the reaction is of course fascinating to watch. So far we've seen the following...
u/throwawayeducovictim celebrate on Twitter and asking God to bless Reddit (as a self-proclaimed 'new born atheist').
Some very personal and hateful digs at Lighthouse Associates.
Less posting on the reinstated group. Is the reality of the character of who's behind these groups starting to dawn on them?
Despite the changes with the reinstalment of the group, the rest of this article still stands because it's about character...
What is the reality of being trolled online?
Imagine every day going online and extremely destructive things being written about you and your closest friends. Imagine that the things written are either complete lies or are half-truths twisted to the point where they are completely false. Imagine a smear campaign being waged against you where the intention is to discredit and destroy your name, your character, your wellbeing and your livelihood. Imagine that the people behind this were jealous family members, people you considered to be good friends and even people you’d never met before. Imagine then seeing these accusations move from being online to being in the national press to the point where innocent children you know personally are fearing for their safety because of the way their parents are being attacked. Imagine that this onslaught continues despite all attempts to stop it through reconciliation, logic, reason and warnings. It’s not just what’s said, but the intention and the consistency of the abuse. After all, the odd negative review written with balance is incredibly valuable for any business, or indeed, individual. That’s not what we’re talking about here!
For me personally I do not need to imagine this scenario. This has been my experience over the past year having been one of the team at the centre of the response to the online trolling of Lighthouse International Group since February 2021. This article is not a victim story, instead it serves to be an article of hope and inspiration for all the children, parents and adults who have been persecuted through online trolling. It breaks my heart to hear of children as young as 11 taking their own lives because of being attacked online. I’ve written about why online trolling is killing our children.
Speaking personally I am no stranger to persecution. When I was around 5 years old I had an older kid take my left hand, pin it down, take a sharpened pencil and ram it into the webbed area between my thumb and forefinger so that the lead stayed in my skin. Decades later I still have the mark to prove it. Then in secondary school there were so-called friends drawing pictures in front of me entitled ‘The death of Mills’. So in the last year amongst other things, I’ve been accused of being things like a predator, a thicko and a stiff plonker! They’re pretty tame compared to what I experienced growing up. Through the research I’ve done, it’s estimated by UNESCO that around a third of teens are bullied globally and the impact of this can be lifelong; affecting everything from mental health and the ability to form healthy relationships through to career prospects and earning potential. Myself and many of my close friends at Lighthouse International Group have had our bullies over the years; peers, partners, bosses and most tragically members of our own families! So our experiences growing up have compounded the effect that this trolling has had on us. Through my life I have been very sensitive to criticism and I’ve had to address this in myself which has been far from easy.
What is the character of those behind the attacks on Lighthouse International Group?
From what we know of those people behind the smear campaign of Lighthouse International Group, they are people who take pleasure in seeing others fail and make mistakes. They want to control others and have self-seeking agendas. When someone gets in their bad books, they will attack relentlessly. We have seen it online and have hundreds upon hundreds of pages of screenshots to prove it! Unsurprisingly they don’t like being called trolls and they don’t like being shown the reality of what they express online. When we’ve made mistakes, we’ve been prepared to put our hands up, say sorry and make things right. According to one troll, that’s not good enough… as if it would bring great joy to see us burnt at the stake for all the allegedly evil acts they feel we have committed.
We can’t, however, apologise for things we haven’t done wrong! The evidence of this is how those attacking us keep on changing tact; one minute we’re a cult, then we're a high-control group, then we’re trendy life coaches, then we’re an ‘awareness group’, then we’re a fraudulent organisation, then we’re immoral and unethical criminals. If all that was written about us online was true, then we would’ve been behind bars years ago!
Apparently being a business means that all sorts of nonsense can be written about you, but by anonymous troll standards it’s not okay to reveal the truth in defence of our reputation. Bear in mind that these insults are being levied at us by people who tolerate, endorse and encourage racism, hate speech and deeply personal insults as you’ll see in this post by Kris Deichler.
Why is mentorship and community so necessary for standing up to online trolls?
What we’ve seen is that hatred blindsides and at times I’ve been intimidated by that because of my personal experience of being bullied as a child. But playing small by being passive has not served me in my life and it will not serve me if I’m truly serious about making a difference to the causes that I feel passionate about like education, mental health and clean water. It has, however, been through the support of my mentors like Paul Waugh and Chris Nash that I’ve been able to face what’s been thrown at me and at us. This is an example of how powerful mentorship can be in facing and overcoming challenges.
I will also add that it’s strengthened the Christian faith I’ve been nurturing over the past 5-6 years. It is through this openness to God and Christ that has led to my biggest personal breakthroughs to become stronger and more willing to face the tyranny inside and outside of me. Without the community around me I would have been dead in the water to such attacks; sometimes all it takes is knowing that someone has your back to feel capable of facing adversity. On that basis I’m seeing that the reason why children (and adults) struggle so much with being trolled is because they feel isolated and alone when they need a leader in their life to guide them.
What is the saddest thing about those who have been trying to destroy us at Lighthouse International Group?
My default reaction to challenges has been to be overly neurotic, to think I’m completely to blame for anything bad that happens regardless of my involvement. As an example, I had someone I considered to be a good friend in the past go online and post anonymously against Lighthouse International Group on Reddit after warning them not to. I recognised the style of writing and so when I challenged them over WhatsApp they said they didn’t know what I was talking about and subsequently blocked me. Because they denied this, I then doubted and questioned my assessment of what was happening - simply because they firmly denied it. Again, who would be proud to admit to trolling?!? However, the posting from the suspected user immediately ceased and was an admission of guilt by default.
From our experience at Lighthouse International Group there’s a lot to be said for the quote, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” It’s been a sad state of affairs where I’ve been involved in things like producing legal briefing documents and police reports having to write names of friends and family members of people here at Lighthouse International Group; some of these people I've even met and spent time with. Having known the people at Lighthouse for years I know these are conscientious people who have simply looked to get the upbringing they didn’t get growing up in order to alleviate suffering in the most vulnerable members of our human family…. and they are being persecuted for it by members of their own families!
How has our philosophy at Lighthouse International Group enabled us to come through these online attacks?
At Lighthouse International Group our philosophy means that we seek to turn problems into opportunities. I have been blown away by some of the things that have come through what this trolling has done for me and the rest of the team. Ironically in the attempt to break down and destroy us, the trolls have done us some huge favours; strengthening us as individuals and a team, repelling those who we cannot partner with and improving our presence online in ways that would’ve taken years had it not been for what’s happened. We’ve learnt experientially what happens when we compromise the character of the people we choose to work with. That is a priceless lesson!
Lastly this is so meaningful for how we will move forward with initiatives like Parents Against Trolls and also Business Against Trolls. We will be able to share so much of what we have learnt through our trolling experiences in order to help families and businesses face the tyranny of online trolling. We are earning our stripes to stand against this scourge of the internet and so if you want to stand with us or have help handling your own trolls, then please feel free to connect with me or send me an email.