Trolling and its impact on social media

At least 25 per cent of the users subjected to some form of social media trolling

By Author  |  Anil Rachamalla  |  Published: 29th Jul 2020  12:11 amUpdated: 28th Jul 2020  10:32 pm

‘Sticks and Stones can break only bones. Words, can kill you.’ — Social media is used everywhere, our families, friends, advertisers, celebrities, organisations and almost everyone uses it directly or indirectly. Our current world population is 7.75 billion and the Internet has 4.54 billion users, 5.19 billion mobile users, and 3.8 billion social media users as per www.wearesocial.org, a reputed internet survey organisation.

At an average at least 25 per cent of the users are undoubtedly subjected to some form of social media trolling during their usage. Trolls create conflict on social media sites by making controversial statements with the sole purpose of causing disorder that can be found in almost every corner of Internet.

These trolls on social media will create problems for people and businesses which affects the social well-being and emotional well-being aspects of an individual.
What Is Trolling?

A troll is an individual with the intention to create conflicts and controversies to —

a) Generate provocative debates

b) Use insults

c) Send offensive messages

d) Character assassination

They act on blogging, social media platforms, or on any other online format. In general, trolls adopt fake identities that make them feel at ease on social platforms. They know or even might not know their victims directly, like in cyberbullying, and they can act at any moment.

Trolling Platforms:-

a) Social media platforms

b) Internet Chat Rooms

c) Email / WhatsApp – Groups

d) Discussion Forums

e) Blogs

Why do people Troll?

End Now Foundation, a non-profit organisation, promoting Internet Ethics and Digital Wellness studied the trolling behaviour for nearly three years, and found that the most reason they act in this manner is due to psychological state or psychological problems. This has been discussed exhaustively with psychologists and digital wellbeing experts, and that they have come to the identical conclusions and that they are documented in Cyberbullying a study released this June 2020.

Trolls are people with serious sociological, psychological, and deep-seated mental issues, stemming from either regulatory offense or mental disease, and problems with their sexual identity.

We discovered that almost all those who participate in trolls can be categorised as below:

a) An abusive childhood

b) Mental health problems

c) Sexual predators

d) Political or personal vendetta

This is the foremost dangerous form of Troll, and also the ones within the highest risk factor to children. Though we estimate that around 60 per cent of all trolls have paedophile tendencies, and download pictures of child abuse, child rape, and abuse, the 6th category poses a more dangerous threat as they try to manipulate perceptions.

How closely ‘Trolling’ and ‘cyberstalking’ are related? :-

Let’s check the definition of cyberstalking, and see similarities to the mentality of a Troll, or ‘Cyberbully’. Cyberstalking is the use of electronic means to stalk or harass a private individual or a company. While “harassment” must meet a criterion, that is, an inexpensive person, in possession of the identical information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.

Common forms of cyberstalking

a) False accusations

b) Gathering information about the victim

c) Encouraging others to harass the victim

d) False victimisation

e) Attacks on data and equipment

f) Ordering goods and services on victim’s names

g) Arranging to meet

More commonly, they post defamatory or derogatory statements about their stalking target (victim) on social media pages, messaging platforms designed to urge a reaction or response from their victim. In many cases, they create fake blogs and social pages in the name of the victim containing defamatory or pornographic content, as trolls do.

How do I deal with it?

a) A report in Social Media platforms

b) Complaints at Cyber Crime Police Stations

c) Complaints at www.cybercrime.gov.in

d) Digital Wellbeing & Internet Ethics Support Groups

Organisations such as ISEA, a division of CDAC, End Now Foundation, Cyber Girl, Cyber Jagruthi and CyberPsy, Women Safety Wing of Telangana Police and many other organisations are run by volunteers to fight online harassment through education of women, children, teens, law enforcement personnel, and empowerment of victims. They have wide range of articles on their web pages giving advice on digital wellbeing & internet ethics and cyber safety and what to do when targeted by trolls.

While the problem of cyberbullying and trolling isn’t going away, the proliferation of volunteer groups working in tandem with law enforcement and other government agencies is giving people a chance to fight back and occasionally win.

Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk Column on “Internet Ethics and Digital Wellness”.

— Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org


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