The mother of a terminally ill child is fighting back against Internet trolls that have turned images of her son into a viral meme. Other parents are joining her cause as the battle against Internet shaming rages on.
Jenny Smith, of Alabama, felt her heart sink when she was browsing social media and found that an image of her terminally ill son was stolen from her Facebook page and turned into a meme, with the caption “that face you make when your parents are actually cousins.”
“When I saw it my heart just sank. It was Grayson’s first field trip to the pumpkin patch when he’d been able to pick out his very first pumpkin; and I had to fight back because I didn’t want people to take such a special day from Grayson and turn it into something so cruel.”
According to WSPA Channel 7, Jenny Smith describes Grayson as an energetic and outgoing young man, despite the medical challenges he faces on a daily basis.
Grayson was born with 22 devastating medical anomalies when he was delivered on February 15, 2013. According to Grayson’s Story, everything in the ultrasounds seemed to signify that he was developing normally. However, it was evident, soon after birth that something was wrong.
At only three years old, Grayson has been through more than many individuals could ever imagine, placing his parents under stress that many could not comprehend. However, their love for Grayson keeps them going in process of keeping him as healthy as possible, despite the doctors’ grim prognosis of his lifespan.
“They wanted us to bring him home, do nothing and let him die,”
Grayson was given only a week or two to live, according to the Grayson crowdfunding page on You Caring. The page was set up to help raise funds for his medical costs, exceeding the $32,000 goal that was set, and outlined some of Grayson’s medical issues. The funds will help cover the cost of a portion of the 24 brain and head surgeries that Grayson has endured.
“Grayson has an occipital encephalocele, craniosynostosis, micronathia, thumb hypoplasia, cleft palate, hypospadias, congenital anomalies of the lower limbs, ASD of the heart which is now closed, central and obstructive apnea.”
Finding out an image of Grayson was being used on the Internet and turned into a horrible meme was devastating. His mother, Jenny, made the decision to not allow the hatred and ridicule to continue.
The Internet is a big space, but Jenny has made it a mission to fight against the hatred and horrible jokes and reach out to anyone she sees posting the meme of her son. In her attempt to remove the posts, she has found that it is not enough to simply report the images as harassment because social media sites like Facebook will not remove the images because they do not violate their standards. However, filing a report of copyright infringement has seen great success, according to the BBC.
“In my experience with Facebook when others report the meme for harassment Facebook replies that the meme does not violate their standards. The only way to remove the photo is for me to personally fill out a Copyright Infringement violation. From there it takes anywhere from 24-48 hours to get a response.”
Facebook claims that they do respond to various cases that go against their Community Standards Guidelines and they will investigate the issue further.
“[Facebook] will not tolerate content that directly attacks others based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical conditions.”
Although Jenny’s campaign has removed quite a few posts from various social media pages and groups, she does not feel like she is winning in the war against Internet shaming. Instead, she claims she has made a difference in the battle as others have joined her cause to stand up against Internet trolls and bullies that attempt to gain fame at the expense of others that are not able to defend themselves.
How do you feel about Internet memes that shame others, should there be tighter regulations?
[Featured Image by petereleven/Shutterstock]