Most people think of the annoying little dolls often seen in cars or collected avidly in the 1970’s when they think of the word ‘Troll’ but it also has another not so friendly meaning.
According to Wikipedia “in internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, 1) by posting inflammatory, 2) extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion”.
Earlier on this month (October 2014) Chris Grayling the UK’s Justice Secretary, said that internet trolls would face up to two years in jail under new laws. Sending messages which are “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” is an offence whether they are received by the intended recipient or not.
Prior to this those found guilty of ‘trolling’ would face being jailed for 6 months although there have been cases of longer jail terms and bans on using social media.
As a group, we are pleased to see that new laws are now in place to tackle this ever growing problem.
Anyone interested in the psychology behind an internet toll and trolling should read Anti-Troll.Org