What I discovered about Internet trolls in my year of being undercover in internet groups. By: Sabrina Culpepper for Junior Hollywood Reporter.
According to a definition by Princeton, Internet trolls are individuals who purposely post inflammatory, off topic or extraneous posts on websites in an effort to stir up drama or harass other members. It is important to define the Internet troll as an important factor in maintaining the cyber safety of children.
We have monitored many groups on Facebook for a year and other Social media for the past six months. We had family and friends assist us with this monitoring and keeping detailed notes for all of us to compare. We learned a great deal about people who troll groups. Some of them have so many fake accounts we are sure they have spread sheets to keep track of the names they use and the passwords for the accounts.
You may be surprised to learn that most trolls are not Teens or even young adults but are senior citizens. Now I say most, not all. You have some teens who are sitting home alone with no friends and the only way to talk to someone is to go online and join groups. Same with the older trolls. Trolls are actually very lonely desperate people seeking attention or someone to talk to them any way they can get it. Some actually do suffer from one form of mental illness or another but most are just negative people seeking attention or some one to talk to. They have learned that being negative and nasty gives them the most comments on a post that they can keep going back to and commenting again on.
One thing we learned by joining these groups is everyone loves to call out the trolls. They will tell you who they really are and even post family pictures they got from their pages. Tell you where they live, where their husbands work, that their teen children have been arrested for vandalism while they sat on the computer trolling groups, their married children have nothing to do with them, send out mass private group messages telling you who is who. But what is so funny is while one person lets call Bill is telling everyone who Jane is and all her private information, Jane is in another private message telling everyone who Bill is. Neither one has a clue they have been told on yet.
And No one knows if Jane and Bill are real accounts or just another one of the trolls many accounts. Some of the trolls have even formed little groups to plan out what they will do, who they will be, and so forth. Only problem with that is it might last forever, it might last a few months, or it may even go on without anyone getting mad and leaving. But once one person leaves they notify as many people as they can in writing who the other people are and all their fake accounts.
Some trolls actually run the groups and what their group members do not know is they have a separate hidden group for the moderators of this group to go in and talk about the members of the group and label people as trolls, haters, spies, etc. Yes another thing the troll who left them tells on them. Also that the mean trolls who everyone left their group because they are so nasty to people and about celebrities are actually the same nice trolls running the new group you just joined to get away from their evil accounts under another name. Its all a pretty busy job if you ask me. They do not just do this 8 hours a day but most only sleep a few hours at a time because they are paranoid someone else will find out who they are, will start a group to compete with theirs, or say something they will miss that would be a red signal warning that they are one of the enemy group trolls. Yes, they actually compete against each other. But most of the time
The most brutal of these trolls are reality show groups. They will attack simply if someone is more popular and they want to run them off. They will attack if someone seems to be liked by other moderators of the group and work with a vengeance to turn them against this member. They will make up things and lie to the death to get rid of this person.
Little Grandma Sally is home alone and lonely, she sees a group about one of her favorite shows and she joins it. Little does she know it is run by trolls who do not like the fact that Grandma Sally is well liked by other members of the group. She is kind and never has a harsh word against anyone and always tries to calm the group down when someone starts fighting over something on the show. Little grandma Sally has to go. Why? Because she is calming the group from fighting with the moderators fake accounts they post in their own groups with. So what do they do? They start attacking Grandma Sally having her in tears. She did nothing at all wrong but she is suddenly being accused of being Lucifer Two a well known troll. Even though she has never even heard of this person she is now being told to the group of friends she had for a brief time on the internet that this is one of Lucifer Two’s fake accounts. I use Lucifer Two because when a troll attacks someone they always accuse them of being the most hated troll out there. I have no idea if there is really a troll account using that name. But if there is shame on them for using such a scary name.
Before you know it not only has Grandma Sally left the group she has left the social media setting altogether and sits home crying trying to figure out what she ever did to deserve such cruelty towards her. More lonely than ever but now mistrusting of everyone and afraid of the internet.
We learned that when someone jumps out and accuses an innocent person of being a troll it is normally the one doing the accusing who is the troll. It is amazing to us how many people have the time to sit online all day every day and night causing problems and being so negative. We have any where from five to ten people at a time on our accounts and it is hard sometimes to have it covered. ( And no they are not all the same person)
We wonder do their spouses know how they behave? Do their families? What about the children they are ignoring to support other kids on TV they will never meet much less be responsible for taking care of? We wonder what has driven society to sit in the house all the time on the computer seeking attention and fake fame. By fake fame I mean why do they need to be the first to post something about a certain star? why do they need to have so many people they will never know or meet tell them how great they are for posting things? Why do they pretend to have an insider working with them in the industry when in fact they get the same info anyone else can get offline only the other people are actually enjoying life and not sitting on a computer 24/7 seeking attention. And when they do get an insider they immediately go into these group messages telling everyone who their insider is getting them higher status in the group.
We have been attacked many times by someone calling us a troll. We have several others contact us telling us to ignore them because the account they are accusing us on is one of that same trolls accounts and they know that person is actually the troll. Mind Blown because for all we know the person messaging us telling us they know the accuser is a troll could be one of the same persons many fake accounts.
So the best advice we can give you if you are ever attacked by one of these people is to expect many of them to come after you. But don’t worry to much because all the accounts attacking you are likely one and the same person. We were told by one former troll that they log in on a desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone to post stuff so it looks like they are all online at the same time and different people. They log in under different browsers on each account and that is why some respond faster than others. Feel sorry for them, report them, block them and go on with your life but never let them accuse you of being who they are and leave because they get a sick sense of satisfaction that they ran you off. Stand your ground because you are not the one in the wrong here. Don’t engage and fight with them because this is what the lonely troll wants. You can feel sorry for a bum on the street but that does not mean you make them your BFF. Same with a lonely no life troll.
Some say the internet is the only life a troll has. I have to say that is by choice. Get up, get out, walk around the block, If you are home bound pick up a book and enrich your mind with something other than the internet. Join a seniors group, volunteer, do something other than obsessing over a TV show, reality star, singer, dancer, what ever it is. Get a hobby. Spend your time on line searching for ways to recycle things in your home and get busy doing something. If your hands work well enough to type 24/7 then they certainly work well enough to do a craft.
If you are being attacked by an internet troll do not give them one second of time responding to them. Block them and let them go wallow in their hatred elsewhere. Just keep living your life and be thankful you have it because for the troll attacking others it is the only life they have.
We are fully aware we will get attacked for posting this article. But pay close attention to who is attacking us. Watch how they post. Write down the names. Keep track because I promise you the worst of the trolls will not be happy knowing they were spied on and busted. No we are not naming names at this time. Because we have more important fish to fry and because there is a time and place for everything. We may never win this battle with trolls but the war will be won with facts when the time is right.
Below are some links we hope will help you better understand how to deal with trolls. But most of all remember one thing please. You did nothing wrong to deserve to be attacked. The problem is not yours. You did not create it or deserve it you were singled out by a sick minded person with no life.