If you’re not familiar with the term, trolls are people on the internet who post upsetting, inflammatory content and comments with the intent to provoke and attack. They are also known for disrupting conversation with off-topic comments. Basically, a troll intends to make people angry, whatever the means necessary. And it’s a growing problem.
People who troll often show signs of sadism, antisocial behavior, or psychopathic tendencies. And the effects of their words are profound. In Australia for example, trolls took over a tribute page dedicated to murdered children, posting hurtful comments. It was in this instance that trolling was compared to anarchy, and it’s an astute observation.
And yet regulation is elusive. Twitter itself has confessed that they aren’t sure quite how to handle comments of this nature, even saying that “we suck” when dealing with trolls. Are they violating the rights of their users by regulating tweets? They have yet to find where the line is and how to enforce standards.
That’s why several people have taken matters into their own hands, and with successful results. Here are some of the ways that people have taken justice into their own hands.
Celebrity Ashley Judd was recently the victim of verbal abuse on Twitter after posting her opinion about a basketball game.
When when I express a stout opinion during #MarchMadness I am called a whore, c---, threatened with sexual violence. Not okay.— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) March 15, 2015
And Judd is doing more than just tweeting about it. She has stated that she will be pursuing legal action against the trolls on the Today Show. She said “Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for what they write and not allowing this misinterpretation and shaming culture on social media to persist. And by the way, I’m pressing charges.”
There have been cases in the US of people successfully getting arrested for threatening the police. Judd’s case would be landmark if she successfully was able to prosecute her trolls.
Get them fired
A tumblr called Racists Getting Fired is a blog dedicated to finding the employment information of racist trolls. They send the racist posts to their employer and demand that this person is let go. For example, check out this racist tweeter before and after he got fired.
Call their mothers
Alanah Pearce is a video game journalist who started receiving sexually explicit and violent threats over social media. She soon discovered that many of these threats were actually coming from young boys, so who better to whip them into shape than their mothers?
Sometimes young boys on Facebook send me rape threats, so I've started telling their mothers. pic.twitter.com/0Cbs81eXiE— Alanah Pearce (@Charalanahzard) November 28, 2014
What an excellent old school way to solve a new dilemma.
The Westboro Baptist Church could be considered one of the first trolls, taking their inflammatory speech offline at funerals. But when they expressed the intent to picket funerals of the people who died at the Boston Marathon, Anonymous tweeted that they could expect repercussions if they tried anything.
If #WBC protests the Boston funerals, they will have to expect us.— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) April 15, 2013
If all else fails, ignore them. After all, trolls probably get the most satisfaction when they see someone hurt or distraught.