Propaganda dictionary – troll


The concept of a troll from Scandinavian folklore has taken on a completely new meaning on the internet. It means to be a shadow account where a person behaves rude and provocatively on social media channels. A troll should not be confused with the term bot, which is usually automated and does not require human intervention. Fairy tales tell us that elves fight with trolls. For example, Propastop has written about the activities of Latvian and Lithuanian elves.

The concept of trolling as an activity has its roots in a type of fishing technique as well as during the Vietnam War; USA F4 Phantom jetfighters had a strategy (trolling for MIG’s) where pilots would fly over battlefield areas with seemingly random flights. If the enemy „took the bait „and attacked, the USA’s significantly more powerful military equipment would render them a devastating blow.

Nowadays, online trolling is considered to be an area of Russian information warfare, which has been revealed in various investigations. The Savushkin street, „troll farm“ in St. Petersburg has become infamous and interviews with former employees give a clear overview of the factory’s „products“.

More specifically, trolling is a provocative and anger sowing activity on internet based social media channels. It is important for anonymous posters or communicators to sow anger and confusion; to offend and hurt other internet users by using false and emotionally charged expressions and attacking other users personally without showing compassion or any politeness.

A truth lies in the negative effect of trolling, in that trolling gives birth to more trolling, which means that being among hatred spewing trolls in an internet environment causes ordinary visitors to the site to become more furious and uncontrollable, turning them into new trolls.

There is no doubt that trolling makes the internet environment worse. On one hand, it amplifies negative issues and on the other hand it silences and forces normal internet users to hide.

Estonia has seen trolling activities for years, although commentaries on daily newspapers did not require registration and was used by „commenting groups“ of various political parties.

Delfi Forte has published a story on how to deal with internet trolls.

Photo: mrdarkroom/Flickr/CC