We all have experienced it, or have seen it at least… the internet troll. The one on Youtube that comments on every artist’s videoclip with: Justin Bieber is better than this stupid -insert artist here- The one that had to instigate a fight, what was just a meaningless disagreement about the birds in Mexico. The one that makes a fake account just to mess with people and many more examples of what we now call the Internet troll.
Since social media has been a household phenomenon, these so called ”trolls” are everywhere. On YouTube, Instagram, Tinder, Facebook etc.
An example of this occured in 2014. A 14-year old girl allegedly tweeted this message to the company American Airline.
Little did she know that, not everyone thought that this was a little joke she was making.
What Sarah thought was supposed to be an (untasteful) joke, turnt into a serious matter. Soon the police got involved and Sarah learned her lesson.
This is an example of person who is joking around on the internet. Though, joking around on the internet is not a new thing, there are boundaries.
Another example of trolling on the internet is the Dutch internet phenomenon called ”Bangalijst” where people put list of young girls on the internet who may or may not have been sexually active. These lists were spread around Twitter, emotionally harming young girls everywhere and making Dutch parents angry.
Another much recent example is when a football player of the Dutch footballteam posted a photo with some of his teammates. Nobody expected the amount of racially offensive jokes that people posted like: ” All of you are Black Petes” and FC Monkey.
There are many more of these examples and still happening everyday. Why do people feel the need to say nasty comments about people? Why do people feel the need to bully people on the internet and why do people feel the need to bring someone else down?
An article by Jesse Fox explains why people feel the need to bully someone on social media. Here she gives 8 reasons why:
Some people have the tendency to believe that they can say anything online and can get away with it. People make up usernames that aren’t linked to their real life so they basically have the feeling that they aren’t being watched cause their identity on the internet is not known.
- Perceived Obscurity
Though, websites like Facebook usually do have your real name, people seem to think that there is still a sense of obscurity/anonymity. People seem to think that their friends or family on Facebook won’t pay attention to all things that he/she posts on other pages.
- Perceived Majority Status
When people think they are in the majority of a certain statement/phenomenen/etc. they will more freely express their opinions about a certain topic.
- Social Identity Salience
Some people behave differently on social media then in real life. Julia might be very shy when she is with you in class, but might me one of the most offensive football hooligan. This is called deindividuation
- Surrounded by friends
On sites like Facebook, you are most definitely surrounded by friends and family. People seem to have a sense of security when you share your opinions about a certain topic when you are ”surrounded by people you know”
Over time, we may get desensitized to the online environment. Whereas once we would have thought about the consequences of what we posted, now we just spout without thinking about it. We may see so many nasty comments that we think making one ourselves is no big deal.
- Personality Traits
Some people are just outspoken by nature and have no sense of empathy. Other tend to believe that they are morally right than others.
- Perceived lack of consequences
Some people just think that because it’s on social media, nothing wil happen and there will be no consequences. Those people are wrong, cause the Internet is not going anywhere and even know when you delete something, somehow it will always be traceable.
What do you guys think? Why do people tend to behave differently on social media than in real life? What goes on in the mind of these ”so called trolls”? Leave a comment 🙂