‘Pimp slap’: Vodafone staffer goes postal

August 1, 2012

Asher Moses Asher Moses Technology Editor

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Kotsopulos tweet 1

One of the tweets Kotsopoulos posted yesterday.

A Vodafone store employee who describes himself as the telco’s “social media expert” and “ambassador” has been deriding customers on Twitter and Facebook as “mentally retarded” and threatened them with a “pimp slap backhand”.

Vodafone, which has lost 600,000 customers since mid-2010 after network and other issues, confirmed that Arthur Kotsopoulos was a retail employee working in the Sydney CBD and was part of the telco’s “TNT Ambassadors” program. He also wrote articles and reviews for Vodafone’s blog but the telco says his “self-appointed” title of “social media expert” was “not endorsed by the company”.

Some of the things he is saying publicly are racist and sexist and hardly appropriate for someone who’s identifying themselves as working for a corporation.

      Tiphereth Gloria, social media expert

In just a few tweets yesterday, Mr Kotsopoulos, who goes by the Twitter handle “GrathiusXR”, managed to ridicule Vodafone customers, suppliers and co-workers.

Arthur Kotsopoulos next to a grab from his LinkedIn page.

“HTC rep just walked in get ready for another hour of blabbering about what are the worst phones on the market,” he wrote yesterday at 1:19pm.

A minute or so later he derided a casual employee he was working with at the store that day. “She changes music & puts on this filthy emo music. Literally want to neck myself,” he writes.

But his harshest barbs were reserved for customers. “To top it off i’m serving mentally retarded people who buy phones and have no clue how to use them. Asking me to message people for them. Creating contacts for them and dictating me to enter the contact names then screaming at me when I spell it wrong. Speak English idiot!”

One of the tweets Kotopoulos posted yesterday.

His rage continued on to Facebook, where his profile was open to the public. He wondered in a post yesterday whether “the local mental institution shut down today or something”.

“If I have to serve another person who repeats everything I say like a parrot or I have to explain the same thing to them more then 6 times somebody is going to cop a pimp slap backhand,” he wrote.

“It’s starting to get extremely frustrating right now. Don’t buy a phone IF you have absolutely no idea how to even use the most simple of functions.”

Another of the tweets Kotsopoulos posted yesterday.

It doesn’t appear to be a momentary lapse of judgment as in February this year he tweeted that “some European women would be drop dead gorgeous if they didn’t open their mouth to speak”.

“Ugliest voices I’ve heard in my life. Served an amazing Brazillian with a booty but when she opened her mouth eeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr….,” he continued.

On his LinkedIn page Mr Kotsopoulos says he has been Vodafone’s “social media expert” since November last year. He also lists his job at the Vodafone George Street store in Sydney where he has worked since October 2010.

On Facebook and on Twitter he lists another role at Vodafone, “TNT Ambassador”. He describes this as: “Front-line for technological queries for Vodafone AU. Lending my ideas on how to sell the latest phones on the market as well as checking out what’s to come.”

He writes on LinkedIn “since I am apart of the Y Generation I have the knowledge in technology and handsets that allows me to generate content for the [Vodafone] blog”.

Of his retail sales experience at Vodafone, he writes that he has “learnt to have a certain etiquette when it comes to communicating” with customers.

A Vodafone spokesman said the telco welcomed feedback from its customers and employees in any forum but was “disappointed” with Mr Kotsopoulos’ views, which did not reflect those of the company.

“We will be following up with Mr Kotsopoulos on why he expressed these views,” the spokesman said.

Of Mr Kotsopoulos’ Vodafone “ambassador” claim, the telco said it ran a program for retail staff called “Talking New Technology” that encouraged staff to give feedback on the technology the company sells. Vodafone has referred to people in this group as “TNT ambassadors”.

Mr Kotsopoulos also works for video game review site OXCGN.com. On his Facebook “about” section he lists the things he hates. These include Australia (“and the scum people that populate it”) and the internet (“full of keyboard heroes, idiots who think they are actually something special coz they can swear”).

Social media expert Tiphereth Gloria, from VML Australia, said Mr Kotsopoulos’ social media experience meant he had no excuse for not knowing what he was doing.

“It’s like he wants people to see his rants and he probably thinks his managers are not going to notice or he’s egotistical enough to think he can get away with it,” she said.

“I don’t know what their [Vodafone’s] internal and external social media policies are, but some of the things he is saying publicly are racist and sexist and hardly appropriate for someone who’s identifying themselves as working for a corporation.”

Ms Gloria recommended companies have clear social media policies that link to their general HR policies. She said spot checks on personal social media channels should be carried out by managers when employees have identifying bios showing the company details.

Anthony Mason, manager of digital research and analysis at social media monitoring firm SR7, said this incident would damage the reputation of Vodafone in the eyes of consumers, business clients and employees.

“Incidents such as these should further crystallise the high potential for social media risk, particularly stemming from employee activity, to damage corporate brands,” he said.

“This risk is not limited to brand damage either; employees are the key source of corporate information leakage on social media platforms.”

Mr Mason said companies could implement intelligence monitoring tools that detect risky posts or accounts and provide early warnings.

In a new comment provided after publication of this article, Vodafone said it had suspended Kotsopoulos pending a full investigation. It apologised for anyone who was offended by the comments, which the telco said it was “appalled” by and “clearly contravene Vodafone social media policy and guidelines for acceptable conduct by employees”.

 

Source

Extortion is an ugly word

Extortion is defined by Wikipedia as a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion.

In the last few days we have seen two instances of this reported in the media. The first involved an alleged attempt to extort money from a wealthy Mosman family. In this case NSW Police were swift to respond to the incident, a crime scene was established, the victim was comforted while bomb disposal experts removed the device strapped to her body, the police dealt appropriately and transparently with media inquiries and an ongoing investigation was commenced.

In the second attempt however, the process and outcome were not so clear-cut.

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White supremacists attack teacher online by hacking Facebook profile

EXCLUSIVE by Joe Hildebrand
From: The Daily Telegraph
August 03, 2011 12:00AM

A SYDNEY primary school teacher has had his identity hijacked on Facebook by white supremacists who painted him as a paedophile and made approaches to his students.

The teacher, whose name cannot be revealed in order to protect the children’s identities, is also a prominent anti-racism campaigner – and appears to have been targeted for that reason.

The account’s creators befriended at least 32 people, almost all of them children.

Several have since unfriended the fake Facebook profile but exchanges visible on the wall show some believed it was the teacher and innocently added the frauds as a friend.

The fake account uses his name as well as the name of the school where he teaches in Sydney’s west.

It features a profile picture of two naked men blowing kisses at the camera.

In the information section it states: “I’m a teacher at (name deleted) school and I adore my students. Especially the boy’s (sic) I could eat them up with a spoon.”

It features inappropriate pictures with captions such as “This is me being a gay god”.

The profile lists his favourite pop stars as Michael Jackson, Elton John, the Pet Shop Boys and Lady Gaga.

It is understood Facebook was notified several days ago but as of yesterday it had still not removed the profile.

The identity theft followed an exchange on a website with white-supremacist links “exposing” an anti-racist blogger as the teacher.

The website, which identifies itself as anti-anti-fascist and has links to sites praising Nazis, boasted about exposing the teacher.

The mission statement at the site – which The Daily Telegraph has not named for fear of giving them free publicity – states: “We’re sick of the AFA (Anti-Fascist Action) and the scum that surrounds them. We will expose over the next few weeks, months, years or however long it takes, members of the AFA.”

When told the teacher worked at a particular school, the site’s operators – identified in a picture as two crew-cutted young men – said to the informant: “Thanks for that, I’ll follow it up.”

An email was sent to the site asking if they were involved but there was no reply.

It is understood the teacher was alerted to the site by a concerned parent just a few days ago.

He has since been telling children on the site to unfriend the predator and has reported the matter to state and federal police.

The teacher said he was restricted from commenting by the Education Department, which also declined to comment yesterday.

Source

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The Sydney Morning Herald has a more detailed article, including a phone interview with the victim.

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Evil fiction: teacher a target of fake Facebook profile

Asher Moses

August 5, 2011 – 11:15AM

Police are hunting the creator of a fake Facebook profile that was used to impersonate a Sydney primary school teacher and frame him as a paedophile by targeting kids at his school.

The teacher, who cannot be named, is a long-time campaigner against racism online and with others he runs a blog that names and shames racists by publishing their hate-filled Facebook postings.

In a phone interview, he said he believed this is why he was targeted. He said he and his family had been harassed over the phone, received death threats and had threatening notes left in his mail box after his personal details – including his address, phone number, photos and work details – were posted on a white supremacist website.

“This Facebook profile opened up a couple of days ago with a picture of me and a friend with shirts off holding a beer … they were writing things on the wall such as ‘i’m gay and I like little boys’ and all sorts of things like that,” the teacher said in a phone interview.

“They were engaging with students – kids were commenting and they were writing back pretending to be me.”

Screenshots of the fake profile, which Fairfax Media has chosen not to publish, have photos of the teacher with captions such as “this is me being a gay god”. The About Me section says: “I’m a teacher at [redacted] and I adore my students. Especially the boy’s [sic] I could eat them up with a spoon”.

The screenshots also show students posting on the wall debating whether the profile is real. Some appeared to be tricked by the ruse. “Hey mr [redacted] can I do training next week because my leg is better,” wrote one.

The teacher said parents had contacted him asking why he befriended their children on Facebook and he worried the impersonators were also grooming them through private messages. Their goal, he believes, was to “portray me as a paedophile and make me lose my job”.

The teacher said he had reported the harassment to police. He had been making reports about the phone threats for months but police had never done anything about it.

“I’ve got about six or seven outstanding police reports and none of them have been touched. I tried to get an AVO [apprehended violence order] in Sydney but I didn’t even get it due to a police f*** up,” he said.

But now that kids have become involved and parents have begun complaining, NSW Police has fired up an investigation.

“Redfern Police are investigating a fake Facebook page created to impersonate a south-western Sydney teacher,” a NSW Police spokesman said.

“The matter was reported to Redfern Police on 1 August 2011 after the teacher was alerted by one of the parents at the school. It will be alleged the parent told him the impersonator had added a number of his students as friends.”

Police said inquiries into the matter were continuing. The spokesman said a person charged in relation to this type of crime could be charged with offences under the Telecommunications Act including using a carriage service to harass or menace.

It is understood the teacher reported the incident to his local MP, Tanya Plibersek, whose office referred it to the Australian Federal Police. However, the AFP said it only investigated crimes against federal government departments and not private companies or individuals.

“Facebook is hosted in the United States, which makes it difficult for Australian law enforcement agencies to police,” the AFP spokesman said.

“Individual users of Facebook who feel threatened by material that they believe is being posted by someone they know or who is close to them, can report these matters to their local state/territory police in the first instance.”

The teacher has been fighting online racism for years and has campaigned through media and privately to have Facebook groups and other websites taken offline.

Asked if he believed he was fighting a losing battle given he was unlikely to change the views of the racists and was simply painting a target on his back, the teacher said he would not be cowed.

“I don’t think the debate or argument is unwinnable. They’re just trying to intimidate people like me from speaking out against racism,” he said.

“I’m just attacking racism – i’m attacking the comments, not the person. It’s almost as though they can’t engage in the actual discussion or argument at hand without sending death threats or threatening family members.”

The fake profile impersonating the teacher has now been removed from Facebook. Asked whether Facebook was responsible for disabling the profile, the social networking site would not comment but said it was against the site’s rules to “provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission”.

As Facebook’s user base has ballooned to 750 million users globally, the site has struggled to keep it clean of nasty content and individuals.

It has been heavily criticised for failing to rid the site of paedophiles, child porn and groups celebrating the Holocaust. The site is quick to act when it receives critical media attention about certain issues but generally does not appear to have enough staff to adequately police the copious amounts of content posted by users every day.

State and federal attorneys-general are discussing ways of forcing the site to give parents access to their kids’ profiles or even limit membership to those who are over 18. The South Australian attorney-general, John Rau, has been tasked with reporting back with ways of implementing such regulations.

Source

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This is not the first time anti-racist activists have been targeted in this way. Veteran activists Fightdemback can attest to attacks made on them and their families by some of the same individuals who are involved in this latest outrage. In many of the cases they cite, actual physical harassment, intimidation and property violations were made.

And what of the protection which is supposed to be afforded to victims of crime by law enforcement? Activists have encountered a variety of reactions from them. Police at the coalface seem to be sympathetic and willing to pursue the matter. Unfortunately, bureaucratic barriers to the progression of cases and an ignorance and downright unwillingness by some in law enforcement to consider the enormous impact of social media has hampered justice and done a disservice to the notion of public safety and the alleviation of community concerns.