Inside the right-wing attack machine Twitchy

A person typing on a keyboard
(Image credit: iStock)

Cyberbullying comes in many forms: While anonymous online message boards like Reddit and 4chan can rile up thousands of users from the darker corners of the web to spew hate in a particular direction, Cosmopolitan columnist Jill Filipovic was hit with a barrage of online harassment from a very specific set of trolls who operate with slightly more legitimacy.

After tweeting "relevant information" about the initial undercover Planned Parenthood video that accused the organization of selling fetal organs — Filipovic said she tweeted to clarify that the group posting the video "was not actually a medical organization but anti-abortion activists posing as medical professionals" — her Twitter was quickly flooded with hateful messages and personal attacks:

Tweet after tweet after tweet streamed in. I was a life-hating bloodthirsty ghoul; a soulless bitch; pro-dead-babies-incinerated-as-biohazardous-trash; a sad, degenerate monster; a f--king heartless beast; a human sewer; the female Hannibal; a soulless wino psychopath; an ignorant twat; a Caitlyn Jenner look-alike; an Obama taint-licker; a dumb, sniveling f--kwhistle; perhaps "some type of transgender"; nasty skank trash; and an elitist snot (that one came with a photo of dozens of dead children), among other pleasantries. [Cosmopolitan]

As it turns out, the hate came from a very particular source: The popular conservative website Twitchy. Founded in 2012 by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, Twitchy finds content on Twitter to re-post on its site, alongside what Filipovic describes as "often outraged commentary." The site's nearly 2 million readers then channel that rage and direct it at the person behind the tweet, which often turns out to be a liberal or progressive journalist. "Basically what they're trying to do," explained one Twitchy victim, "is destroy you, mentally, physically, and economically."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Read the full story at Cosmopolitan.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.