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Going viral shouldn’t lead to bomb threats, with Leigh Honeywell: Lock and Code S05E06

This week on the Lock and Code podcast…

A disappointing meal at a restaurant. An ugly breakup between two partners. A popular TV show that kills off a beloved, main character.

In a perfect world, these are irritations and moments of vulnerability. But online today, these same events can sometimes be the catalyst for hate. That disappointing meal can produce a frighteningly invasive Yelp review that exposes a restaurant owner’s home address for all to see. That ugly breakup can lead to an abusive ex posting a video of revenge porn. And even a movie or videogame can enrage some individuals into such a fury that they begin sending death threats to the actors and cast mates involved.

Online hate and harassment campaigns are well-known and widely studied. Sadly, they’re also becoming more frequent.

In 2023, the Anti-Defamation League revealed that 52% of American adults reported being harassed online at least some time in their life—the highest rate ever recorded by the organization and a dramatic climb from the 40% who responded similarly just one year earlier. When asking teens about recent harm, 51% said they’d suffered from online harassment in strictly the 12 months prior to taking the survey itself—a radical 15% increase from what teens said the year prior.

The proposed solutions, so far, have been difficult to implement.

Social media platforms often deflect blame—and are frequently shielded from legal liability—and many efforts to moderate and remove hateful content have either been slow or entirely absent in the past. Popular accounts with millions of followers will, without explicitly inciting violence, sometimes draw undue attention to everyday people. And the increasing need to have an online presence for teens—even classwork is done online now—makes it near impossible to simply “log off.”

Today, on the Lock and Code podcast with host David Ruiz, we speak with Tall Poppy CEO and co-founder Leigh Honeywell, about the evolution of online hate, personal defense strategies that mirror many of the best practices in cybersecurity, and the modern risks of accidentally becoming viral in a world with little privacy.

“It’s not just that your content can go viral, it’s that when your content goes viral, five people might be motivated enough to call in a fake bomb threat at your house.”

Leigh Honeywell, CEO and co-founder of Tall Poppy

Tune in today to listen to the full conversation.

Show notes and credits:

Intro Music: “Spellbound” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
Outro Music: “Good God” by Wowa (

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