Social Media Trolls: What they are and how to identify and control them

Sara Martín

Sara Martín, metricool.com

This face probably looks familiar to you. Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

 

It’s a social media troll

 

What you should do if you bump into one face to face:

  • Option A  ➞ Run away
  • Option B  ➞ Call your mother
  • Option C  ➞ Deal with it

In this article you will discover the right answer so stay with us to find out.

 

What’s a social media troll?

‘Troll’ is a person with the intention to create conflicts and controversy:

  • Generate provocative debates
  • Use insults
  • Send offensive messages

They act on forums, social networks or on any other online format.

In general, trolls adopt fake identities that make them feel at ease on social networks. They don’t know their victims directly, like in cyberbullying, and they can act at any moment.

In the US there are so many social media trolls that the government has created anti-troll organizations like  http://anti-troll.org/ . Europe is also working toward more regulations and norms to defeat them.

 

How to identify a social media troll

The first step to beat trolls is recognizing them.

It’s important to differentiate between a real social media troll and someone who is simply using humor.

 

Types of social media trolls

There are plenty of different types of social media trolls, but we have selected some of the most common ones, so you can learn how to identify and classify them.

 

THE METICOLOUS

Those that they are waiting for you to make the smallest mistake to make everybody aware of your error, for example a spelling mistake.

THE INCOHERENT

They write comments that don’t make any sense and their messages don’t provide any value.

THE CLOWN

They make jokes about any publication or topic. They use humor as a way to criticize anything.

THE AGRESIVE

They publish offensive material (racist, sexist, misogynist, etc.) to make noise and create negative reactions and debates.

THE HACKERS BLACK HAT OR CRACKERS

They threaten to break into websites, do negative SEO attacks, create accounts with fake followers or use bots to diminish your brand’s reputation on social networks.

THE INVINCIBLE

More than invincible, they are “tiring”. They constantly target and attack a brand or person and never stop.

THE BIG FAN

It might seem that all of them are “haters” but some of them are unconditional fans of a certain brand or person that will defend it to death.

 

How to deal with social media trolls

First and the most important thing is to ignore them.

What’s a social media troll? 

‘Troll’ is a person with the intention to create conflicts and controversy:

  • Generate provocative debates
  • Use insults
  • Send offensive messages

They act on forums, social networks or on any other online format.

In general, trolls adopt fake identities that make them feel at ease on social networks. They don’t know their victims directly, like in cyberbullying, and they can act at any moment.

In the US there are so many social media trolls that the government has created anti-troll organizations like  http://anti-troll.org/ . Europe is also working toward more regulations and norms to defeat them.

How to identify a social media troll 

The first step to beat trolls is recognizing them.

It’s important to differentiate between a real social media troll and someone who is simply using humor.

 

Types of social media trolls 

There are plenty of different types of social media trolls, but we have selected some of the most common ones, so you can learn how to identify and classify them.

 

THE METICOLOUS

Those that they are waiting for you to make the smallest mistake to make everybody aware of your error, for example a spelling mistake.

THE INCOHERENT

They write comments that don’t make any sense and their messages don’t provide any value.

THE CLOWN

They make jokes about any publication or topic. They use humor as a way to criticize anything.

THE AGRESIVE

They publish offensive material (racist, sexist, misogynist, etc.) to make noise and create negative reactions and debates.

THE HACKERS BLACK HAT OR CRACKERS

They threaten to break into websites, do negative SEO attacks, create accounts with fake followers or use bots to diminish your brand’s reputation on social networks.

THE INVINCIBLE

More than invincible, they are “tiring”. They constantly target and attack a brand or person and never stop.

THE BIG FAN

It might seem that all of them are “haters” but some of them are unconditional fans of a certain brand or person that will defend it to death.

 

How to deal with social media trolls 

First and the most important thing is to ignore them.

 

Don´t feed the trolls

 

Trolls are driven by the search for attention. If you don’t show any interest and ignore them, they might back away, although it’s not always the case.

There are some options and tips that you can try to get rid of one or more trolls:

  1. Get to know and identify the troll:

Find out what they do and investigate them. Using this method, you will know a bit better what they are trying to troll.

  1. Contact the troll

You should try to do it privately. Let them know that their behavior is not correct and if they keep doing so, you might block them or take some measures to solve it.

Sometimes what it works is to take them to your territory and suggest how they could help you to improve whatever was the target of their critiques.

  1. Use common sense in your response: Don’t respond to the first thing that crosses your mind. You should be aware that a bad answer can have a negative impact on your reputation.

 

 

Some tips to have a troll under control

DON´T FEED THE TROLL

The best you can do is not to respond to their comments, wait for them to get tired and stop leaving offensive comments on your profile. If you already contacted them and they keep behaving the same way, ignore them.

 

Set guidelines for your community

Clearly state the guidelines for your community from the beginning. You can block anyone who is not behaving properly and erase any offensive comment. This will alert trolls and encourage them to stay away from your community.

 

Don’t take it personal

Social media trolls’ main goal is to generate polemic on social media, they don’t do it in a personal way. If you manage a brand, never answer personally.

 

Don’t delete the comments

As long as the comments are not extremely offensive don’t delete them. It would mean that the troll is getting what they wanted.

 

Some examples about how brands respond social media trolls

Many brands opt to reply to social media trolls through humor. Find some examples below:

 

 

 

What social networks do about it

Whether this behavior is used against people or brands, trolling is not allowed by any social network.

The most popular social media platforms,  Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have different rules in regards to this type of abusive behavior, these regulations must be followed or the social networks can adopt measures to avoid it.

They also encourage any user to inform about any improper or abusive behavior.

Do you have any experience with any social media troll? Tell us about it in the comment section.

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