Home / World News / ‘Like PTSD’: NRL coach reveals online bullying toll

‘Like PTSD’: NRL coach reveals online bullying toll

Former Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has revealed he sought professional help after being subjected to relentless online bullying, likening the aftermath to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The rugby league coach appeared before a Senate inquiry into the government’s “anti-trolling” legislation when he made the bombshell revelation.

“The best way to describe it for some family members, and myself, it’s almost like PTSD, like that’s the significance of the impact that had on us,” Mr Seibold said via videolink from England.

He said the NRL team engaged a cyber security team to investigate the claims on his behalf but complaints to police and social media platforms were unsuccessful.

Broncos Training
Camera IconAnthony Seibold said revealed he sought professional help after he was the subject to online abuse. Pic Annette Dew Credit: News Corp Australia

“I didn’t feel like the social media platforms listened to the complaints of my representatives or my family,” he said.

But the inquiry heard the proposed legislation would do little to help Australians like Mr Seibold, as it is focused on defamation, not reducing online trolling, despite the name.

Instead, it would grant victims the power to ask for the identity of anonymous posters, if they consent to their information being shared.

If they don’t agree, they would have the option of using a new court order to unmask them.

Social media companies would also be required to set up a complaints scheme to help victims, and disclose whether a post was made in Australia within 72-hours.

But the Law Council of Australia said it had a limited ability to actually address online harm.

It recommended the government should instead be focused on overhauling defamation law, a process currently before the Attorney-General.

The bill’s critics claim it doesn’t do enough to address harm online.
Camera IconThe bill’s critics claim it doesn’t do enough to address harm online. Credit: News Regional Media

eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant agreed, telling Senators the bill should at the very least be renamed.

“Conflating defamation with trolling is comparing apples with oranges. Not only does this catch-all term trolling trivialise seriously harmful forms of online abuse, you can troll someone endlessly without defaming them,” she said.

“You could change the name of the bill and it would deal with a lot of confusion and conflation.”

The Office of the Information Commissioner added more consideration was required into the privacy implications of the bill.

“An important threshold question that continues to warrant further consideration is whether the privacy impact on Australian social media users that will result from the collection and verification of their contact details is reasonable, necessary, and proportionate response to achieving the objective of the bill,” Angelene Falk said.

High profile victims of online trolling, Erin Molan and Nyadol Nyuon, told the inquiry the mechanisms provided by the bill would not be accessible for everyday Australians.

Erin Molan appears before the anti-trolling bill inquiry.
Camera IconErin Molan said she walked away from the NRL because of online trolls. Credit: Supplied

Ms Molan, who revealed for the first time online trolling was partially the reason she quit a lucrative Nine NRL job, pointed to the “crippling” cost of defamation proceedings.

“I earn an above-average salary absolutely, and it is crippling, the cost of it … My experience and my belief would be that for 99.9% of Australians it would be absolutely impossible to afford,” she told the inquiry.

Ms Nyuon, who has been the target of racist online abuse, said it would be impossible to deal with the sheer volume of attacks she receives.

“The sheer volume of it makes it almost hard to be able to deal with each individual that comes with it,” she said.

The lawyer and writer added the cost of a claim would make her “think twice” before launching a defamation complaint.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Reims snatch draw with French leaders PSG

Striker Folarin Balogun has equalised deep into stoppage time as mid-table Reims earned a 1-1 …

%d bloggers like this: