You've heard the stories about the dark side of the internet -- hackers, #gamergate, anonymous mobs attacking an unlucky victim, and revenge porn -- but they remain just that: stories. Surely these things would never happen to you.
Zoe Quinn used to feel the same way. She is a video game developer whose ex-boyfriend published a crazed blog post cobbled together from private information, half-truths, and outright fictions, along with a rallying cry to the online hordes to go after her. They answered in the form of a so-called movement known as #gamergate--they hacked her accounts; stole nude photos of her; harassed her family, friends, and colleagues; and threatened to rape and murder her. But instead of shrinking into silence as the online mobs wanted her to, she raised her voice and spoke out against this vicious online culture and for making the internet a safer place for everyone.
In the years since #gamergate, Quinn has helped thousands of people with her advocacy and online-abuse crisis resource Crash Override Network. From locking down victims' personal accounts to working with tech companies and lawmakers to inform policy, she has firsthand knowledge about every angle of online abuse, what powerful institutions are (and aren't) doing about it, and how we can protect our digital spaces and selves.
Crash Override offers an up-close look inside the controversy, threats, and social and cultural battles that started in the far corners of the internet and have since permeated our online lives. Through her story -- as target and as activist -- Quinn provides a human look at the ways the internet impacts our lives and culture, along with practical advice for keeping yourself and others safe online.
In 2014, indie game developer Quinn became the target of death threats, hate mail, and other online abuse after an internet vendetta devised by her abusive ex-boyfriend spiraled into a harassment campaign that came to be known as Gamergate, in which several women in the video game industry become the targets of largescale, coordinated online abuse. Quinn uses her personal experiences to advocate practical steps toward creating a safe and open internet culture. She rejects tired advice such as "don't feed the trolls" and "just go offline," instead advising social media users to secure passwords and to keep active records of any incidents of abuse and contact law enforcement. She calls on readers to resist the temptation toward vigilante justice. Instead of using the same tactics as the internet trolls, which just feeds the online outrage culture, Quinn encourages readers to focus their efforts on restorative justice by seeking out perspectives of people particularly voices of trans women and women of color who are often targets of online abuse. For Quinn, winning the "cultural battle for the web" starts with reframing the issue as not a matter of good vs. bad people fueling hate culture on the internet, but rather "acceptable and unacceptable ways to treat each other." It's a remarkably clear-eyed view that's all the more powerful in light of Quinn's backstory.