Media Manipulation: Internet Trolls

In the article “Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online,” Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis mention a particular subcultural group that I constantly see manipulating the media: Internet Trolls.

A troll is a person who purposely causes disarray online. Many of them use hate speech to evoke some sort of emotion from the platform’s users. Some think they are exposing the hypocrisy of mainstream media. For example, a troll who posts an inappropriate picture on a Facebook memorial page may be trying to make a point that people pretend to care about the deceased in order ┬áto get attention. This extreme example shows a troll’s lack of empathy. They feel confident enough to say these horrible things because they feel safe behind a screen. Their confidence is especially high when they remain anonymous.

The United States is a country that promotes free speech in person and on the web. Therefore, it is not easy for these trolls to be shut down. People are allowed to have their opinions, whether they are being genuine or posting for more diabolical reasons.