Trolls. How to Spot Them. What to do.

So, you think you’ve identified an online troll. Your aunt is running for city council this fall and you’re the millennial managing her Facebook page. You keep getting calls from the family asking you what to do. Papaw knows where the troll lives and is going knock on their front door and give them a talkin’ to (this is Kentucky).

Well, what do you do?

No situation is ever the same. Media gurus at M+R created a helpful “Social Media Manager” tool guide that helps you identify and act upon a troll’s…trolling. But strangely, after I received this article from a colleague, a scenario similar to what I wrote up above actually happened. Now I have a story to tell about the advice I gave.

First, I asked to see screenshots of the trolls’ comments. They were negative, blatant lies about the candidate.

I gave the forlorn millennial a few options. You have every right to:

  1. Hide the comments on the Facebook page
  2. Change your settings to where you have to approve every comment on the page going forward (B is a bit obnoxious, but a fail proof way you won’t miss any negativity)
  3. Block the individual from the page entirely

BUT (you can see how this becomes a game of chutes and ladders) this troll was rogue, posting harmful personal statuses rather than solely on the campaign page.

What now?

I compared it to a real-world scenario. There’s always “that guy” who continues to run for office every year regardless of who the candidates are. They garner maybe 200 votes in the primary, often because of voter ignorance or prejudices. They can be outlandish. But what do people on campaigns do in the real world when paired with these candidates on the ballot?

Ignore their harmful (distracting, unintelligible, etc.) comments. Any attention you give them reinforces their illusion of power (this statement is also helpful for getting over abusive exes).

The takeaway? Let them be outlandish. The local* community will sort through the BS on their own and not be drawn to such content. Better yet, save your ship for self preservation.

e.g. Don’t be Happy – Exhibit A:

Note: Local community is key for quality control. Cannot use the same advice on a national or global scale (cough* “fake news” cough*).


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