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Anti-bullying Facebook page gets a taste of the real thing

Carol Todd holds a photograph of her late daughter Amanda Todd signed by U.S. singer Demi Lovato with the words ‘Stay Strong.’

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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A new project has asked people to come together on social media to brainstorm ideas to end bullying. And just two days after it launched a tool for people to do that, a bully has proven that the need for such campaigns is not going away.

Someone using the name "Cristie Maclead" went to the "No Place to Hide" anti-bullying Facebook page this week and posted a comment calling it "the stupidest shit I have ever seen." He or she suggested that the majority of bullying victims are to blame, calling them names such as "whore." The message concluded with "PS. [sic] Kill yourself".

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The commenter also referred to "nude pictures," which has been an issue with some of the most well-known and tragic cases of cyberbullying in Canada. In 2012, 15-year-old B.C. teen Amanda Todd was driven to suicide after she was bullied mercilessly. She had made the mistake of appearing topless on a webcam; she was tormented and changed schools, but a blackmailer attempting to convince her to take more photos distributed the image. Nova Scotia teenager Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life support last April after a suicide attempt, following months of bullying that involved a photo of her allegedly being sexually assaulted. Ms. Parsons' father, Glen Canning, is part of the steering committee helping with the "No Place to Hide" project.

"Glen had told us to be on the lookout for this, because of some of the things people have written, even on Rehtaeh's memorial [Facebook] site," said Frazer Jelleyman, the chief creative officer at Canadian ad agency Taxi who launched the project. He called the comment "shocking."

The page has a moderator, who deleted the comment.

"I didn't really want the site to become a battleground," Mr. Jelleyman said.

But the fact that it was posted in the first place exposes the kind of activity that can occur with greater frequency and anonymity online and on social media – one of the main factors that bullying opponents are grappling with.

People interested in the project can submit their ideas about how to fight cyberbullying at https://www.facebook.com/noplacetohide/app_811066245576064.

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