Home / Perspectives / Beware of the troll behind the screen

Beware of the troll behind the screen

They exist all over the Internet and take many forms. You might even be one. A Troll.

Trolls are defined as “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.” 

Trolls can be harmless, like Ken M., a notable troll whose sarcastic comments may cause annoyance but would cause no serious damage. Other trolls can cause fear with death threats and cause real life damage by doxxing- releasing addresses, bank account numbers and other personal information. Some have even called police raids on private homes of their victims.

In some cases, trolls mock dead or ill people by making fake accounts of the recently deceased, or encouraging a mentally ill person towards suicide.

A Time article by Joel Stein features interviews from both trollers and victims of trolling. According to Stein, trolls have made life unnecessarily hard or stressful for lots of people, which is their ultimate goal.

Many trolls use the Internet as a way to spread their anger when things do not go their way. When the female-cast reboot of Ghostbusters premiered, trolls harassed star Leslie Jones with racist content, comparing her to a gorilla and sending death threats. All this simply because they did not like a movie.

Stein wrote that in July 2016, a feminist writer Jessica Valenti quit her job when trolls threatened to rape her five-year-old daughter.

This is unacceptable. No one, especially not five year old children should be threatened or attacked whenever they go on the Internet. I know some people may think that it is within their First Amendment write to spread their insane hatred. But here is the thing: it actually is not. When you make an account on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, those are private companies and you are therefore subject to their rules of conduct. It is within their right to shut down your account if your content is deemed unacceptable by their standards.

Death threats are not funny. Releasing private documents or photos is not funny. Just because the law has not caught up yet, does not make trolling right. It is and will always be the pathetic ramblings of cowards.

 

 

About Mahalia Smith

Check Also

The Ages of Social Media and FOMO

The internet has been evolving for the last few years. It used to be a ...