MENLO PARK (CBS SF) — Imagine. An anonymous Internet troll posts a racist comment on Facebook, steps outside and there it is — their comment, verbatim, plastered on a huge billboard right near their home.

That’s exactly what is happening to racist Facebook offenders in Brazil. The non-profit group Criola, founded by a group of Afro-Brazilian women promoting equality, is taking Facebook-shaming to billboard-size proportions.

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The campaign is called, ‘Virtual Racism. The Consequences Are Real.’ Using the location tags on the offensive posts and putting up the billboards on, in the offender’s home turf, Criola aims to show how a “racist comment on the Internet can generate real effects in an increasingly connected society.”

The names and faces of the authors are blurred out, but the billboard-shaming is powerful nonetheless. Neighbors, passersby, anyone in the vicinity, can see the hate-filled message and know the author is someone who lives in their midst.

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The billboard campaign was sparked by racist Facebook attacks on Afro-Brazilian journalist Maria Julia Coutinho. Commenters made disparaging remarks about her looks, her race, and launched a barrage of expletive-laden comments about Coutinho after she ‘forgot her place’ and corrected a white co-anchor on-the-air.

For now, the racist billboard-shaming is only happening in Brazil, but Facebook, based in Menlo Park, boasts 1.55 billion active accounts around the world. It could become a trend.


CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.

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