Copenhagen Photo Festival 2020. Kyrre Lien. The Internet Warriors
Copenhagen Photo Festival 2020. Kyrre Lien. The Internet Warriors

Imaad Osman age: 24 education: Finished 9th grade occupation: Security guard place of residence: Beirut, Lebanon cause: End the war in Syria marital status: Single Quote: “The one who waits for democracy from America, is the same who expect the devil will bring them to heaven!!!” Quote source: Facebook-comment on Imaad’s wall. When Imaad was recruited to be a soldier for the Syrian regime, he knew it was time to flee. 

Copenhagen Photo Festival 2020. Kyrre Lien: Alexandra from the series The Internet Warriors
Copenhagen Photo Festival 2020. Kyrre Lien. The Internet Warriors. "Alexandra".

Alexandra Velichkevich age: 51 occupation: Student in business education: Educated as a meteorologist. place of residence: Saint Petersburg, Russia marital status: Married, three kids cause: Let Russia be independent “Shame on the European world !!! Damn, the fagots are all around!!!!” Quote source: To a story when a U.S. ambassador said he was a homosexual. From her two-bedroom apartment in the outskirts of St. Petersburg, Alexandra fights for her country. Her biggest fear is for it to be influenced by «GayEurope». 

Kyrre Lien - The Internet Warriors
Copenhagen Photo Festival 2020. Kyrre Lien. The Internet Warriors.

Ashleigh Jones age: 21 occupation: Student education: Student in Psychology place of residence: Cardiff, Wales marital status: Single cause: Equality “That bitch has really fucking pissed me off. FUCK YOU, YOU TIRED ASS SHOWGIRL CUNT GO BACK TO PARTY CITY WHERE YOU BELONG” Quote source: Twitter-comment directly to the artist Lady Gaga. 21-year-old Ashleigh Jones has been called a troll. But according to herself, she just has strong opinions. «I would describe my commenting as honest and brutal. I don’t sugarcoat anything, like the time I called Lady Gaga a “TIRED ASS SHOWGIRL CUNT”. 

ALL WORKS ABOVE ARE FROM THE SERIES The internet warriors (2017).
© Kyrre Lien

FRAMING SOCIETY | More than a third of us participate in online debates, according to research done by Pew Research Centre. Meanwhile, a new arena for hateful expressions, whether it is on Facebook or in comment sections of news websites have evolved. Online debates have become one of the most important channels for free speech, including an arena for controversial statements not published elsewhere. It is an arena where everyone can participate, regardless of education, ethnic background, gender or location. The Internet Warriors (2017) uncovers some of the commenters who make the most controversial statements and use much of their time expressing themselves online. Lien met, documented and interviewed, photographed and filmed the commenters during a three year period. Using storytelling techniques he explores the contrasts of how these people appear in real life as well as in the digital world with the intention of creating a more nuanced debate about freedom of speech in the age of the Internet.

Many people think the internet debaters are people you wouldn’t normally come across in public. But Lien describes The Internet Warriors as normal people; family fathers- and mothers with jobs and friends—people who, for a long time, has been debated about, but not with. The project comprises a documentary film, a photo series and an interactive website. The project’s documentary film has been seen over 1 million times on the Guardian’s website. In addition, the project has been mentioned in the New York Times Lens, Der Spiegel and The Observer. These mentions are estimated to have been viewed by nearly 3 million people. Over 30.000 people have viewed the project’s website. The project has received multiple awards, including 1st place in the Lumix Awards in Germany.

The project has been supported by Det Obelske Familiefond, the City of Copenhagen and the Embassy of Norway in Denmark.

Kyrre Lien
Kyrre Lien


Kyrre Lien is an award-winning Norwegian visual journalist with photography as his main practice. His work has been published in the majority of Norwegian newspapers and he mainly works for clients such as VG, Aftenposten and The Guardian He is acclaimed for his use of new media and visual storytelling. In 2017 he was named by Forbes Magazine to be one of 30 young media entrepreneurs “defining the ever-shifting world of news and content.”


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Artist’s video introduction

“For me, it was important that the public got to know the faces behind the comments and to realise that many of them are just like you and me. I think that is key when we try to understand why people are so outspoken online, that it’s almost like they have two personalities. One online, and one face to face.” – Kyrre Lien on the most important thing to understand about The Internet Warriors.

Copenhagen Photo Festival 2020. Kyrre Lien. The Internet Warriors.
Copenhagen Photo Festival 2020. Kyrre Lien. The Internet Warriors. "Roger".

Roger A. Hicks age: 67 occupation: full-time carer for my mother education: self taught philosopher place of residence: London, U.K. marital status: Divorced cause: Save the world “Sending children of different race to the same schools is a form of EUGENICS, encouraging them to mix and later intermarry . . .” Quote source: Twitter-status Roger A. Hicks believes that children of different ethnic backgrounds should not attend the same schools. But he says he’s not a racist. 

From the series The Internet Warriors (2017).
© Kyrre Lien

Kyrre Lien Documentary: The Internet Warriors. Duration: 21 min.