In social networks platforms, troll is a user who make inflammatory or inappropriate comments for the sole purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response. Both the noun and the verb forms of “troll” are associated with Internet discourse. However, the word has also been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment.
Sometimes trolling can get a user ban as it can be disruptive. Some users do it to be humorous when they know others will be angry. The best solution is to ignore trolls and to not give them the attention they want. This has become known as “don’t feed the trolls”. On websites such as Encyclopedia Dramatica where trolling is welcome, users can troll without fear of being ban.
In October 2012, the internet news site Gawker, publicly revealed the name of an internet troll who had called himself “Violentacrez”. Michael Brutcsh had collected photos of young girls from Facebook, often in bikinis or short skirts, and them posted them on the site Reddit. He also posted photos of women, taken without their permission, which focused on their breasts or bottoms. His actions made many people very angry. Brutsch said he was an internet troll because “…I just like riling people up in my spare time.”
Researcher Ben Radford wrote about the phenomenon of clowns in history and modern day in his book ‘Bad Clowns’ and found that bad clowns have evolved into Internet trolls. They do not dress up as traditional clowns but, for their own amusement, they tease and exploit “human foibles” in order to speak the “truth” and gain a reaction. Like clowns in make-up, Internet trolls hide behind “anonymous accounts and fake usernames.” In their eyes they are the trickster and are performing for a nameless audience via the Internet.