A man at a tech conference made an off-color joke to a friend; someone overheard, took offense and posted his picture online. A woman posed for a photo making a rude gesture at Arlington National Cemetery and, meaning to amuse her friends, uploaded it to Facebook. Another woman sent out a tweet intended as irreverent satire that came off as racism.
Word spread, posts and photos shared. Next thing you know, these people were facing vilification via Internet - a torrent of criticism, insults and even death threats from around the world - essentially for making bad jokes.