Nobody ever knows when the internet trolls will make their appearance on social media, but when they do they cause havoc wherever they go. This has happened to many of us including a 9-year-old girl named Sophia.
She was born with a severe disability called Rett syndrome. It is known as a brain disorder that targets motor and language functions and causes severe deformities to the body and face of its victims. Sophia was only one year old when she was diagnosed and ever since then she needs 24/7 help and support from her parents.
"She’s had 22 surgeries," Weaver said. "She has a feeding tube. A colostomy bag. She has seizures and choking spells because of both the deformities and the Rett syndrome." Sophia's mom is a healthcare activist and when changes came to healthcare in their area she started to speak out about Sophia and her condition.
Guess who immediately starting to stick their noses out? The internet trolls. They noticed Weaver's awareness about her daughter and started targeting little Sophia. "People, they seek you out and want to hurt you," she said. "There are people who go out of their way to make sure you see their cruelty. I get people telling me to kill my child, to put her out of her misery."
They used Sophia's face as the poster to promote coerced abortion and if that wasn't enough they sent her mom a direct message on Twitter and tagged her in the viral post.
"I blocked it. I just hoped it was gone, but it was never removed. The account remained." Some time passed, but the tweet or account was never removed as Twitter told Weaver it didn't violate any of their policies.
At one stage the trolls even reached out and talked to Weaver's followers on Twitter. For a mom, especially Weaver it was devastating and sad to see the post and account still active and there was only one thing left that she could do.
She started reaching out to her followers and asked them to report these trolls and even went for an interview at a local news station to get the word out about what these people are doing to her daughter.
Nearly two weeks later Twitter caved in and removed the post and the account that trolled Sophia due to all the news coverage Weaver was receiving.
"Twitter needs to add people with disabilities as a category in their violation reporting," she said. "Otherwise people don’t know the appropriate category to select for hate towards people with disabilities," Weaver said in relation to how Twitter handled the whole situation.
A spokesperson for Twitter responded with a comment on their hateful conduct policy, "You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. "All of these considerations are taken into account when reviewing reported violations of the Twitter Rules."
A lot of people came together on Twitter to support and rally alongside Natalie. They sent these supportive messages to her.