The first image of a black hole made Katie Bouman a celebrity overnight. Then the Internet trolls came down.



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By Ben Collins

Katie Bouman, a researcher who helped create the first image of a black hole, quickly gained Internet fame on Thursday for her role in the project after a photo shoot. she became viral.

But trolls on the Internet soon followed, questioning Bouman's work and hinting at false claims that she had not played a lot in the project. His colleagues rallied behind his defense, but the situation highlighted the vitriol that women continue to face on the Internet and the continuing vulnerability of large Internet platforms to trolling campaigns.

Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow soon to be an adjunct professor at the California Institute of Technology, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that "no algorithm or person created this image" and published a photo of the many people with whom she has work.

The photo of the black hole is the final result of the work of hundreds of researchers and eight telescopes.

The public recognition of Bouman – mostly applauding the example of a woman at the forefront of a major scientific effort – has drawn the attention of misogynist communities on the Internet. Some users came together on Reddit and created videos about Bouman's contribution, which were later uploaded to Instagram and YouTube.

On Friday, lies claiming that it was not Bouman, but a colleague who deserved a credit for the black hole's image exceeded legitimate coverage in search results on YouTube and Instagram.

On YouTube, the first video result for users looking for "Katie Bouman" returns a video titled "A woman does 6% of the work but gets 100% credit: Black Hole Photo." The video is full of inaccuracies and largely inspired by a lie created on Reddit and pushed heavily by a "human rights" community.

A few hours later, a similar search showed that the video was no longer at the top of YouTube's results.


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