How trolls are born: hatred on the internet
Who keeps feeding the trolls?
HEALTH Internet trolls
When surfing the internet, it’s quite easy to stumble upon the most hateful and vile texts written by so-called trolls. These people love to bully and belittle others. On the web, no one is safe from their vitriol, while we’re much less likely to encounter this behaviour in real life. So what makes a well-behaving citizen turn into a demonic creature as soon as he or she commands a keyboard?
The most obvious reason for the aggressive and malicious behaviour of trolls is their anonymity. In real life, there are consequences for your actions, but if no one will ever find out who you are, you may feel emboldened to do whatever you feel like. However, even people who use their real names online may display vile behaviour. Despite not being anonymous, they still assume that they’ll never have to meet the people they harass online.
The false consensus effect causes people to think their view is common and that they are part of a majority. When we assume we are part of a majority, we feel far more secure when speaking our minds. It’s especially easy in online communities for hate groups to thrive and give people with similar views the idea that they’re part of a popular movement. In these communities, people may even resort to hate simply to fit in and to receive praise from fellow community members.
Because the internet is already filled with all kinds of outrageous and insulting statements, we slowly start taking the internet less seriously. At some point, people can think that it’s normal to curse and threaten with violence when disagreeing with others. These people don’t necessarily mean what they say, but the other party may be mortified. Especially young people can pick up and repeat phrases while not understanding their meaning.
If you wish to behave appropriately on the internet, it is advisable never to write anything that you wouldn’t say out loud in a public space. Simple really. Be nice to each other out there.
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