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What to Do About Trump Trolls?

There is particularly obnoxious segment of Trump deplorables known on the internet as Trump trolls.  They infest social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter with the intent of harassing anyone who is critical of their idol, Donald J. Trump.  Of course, we have been told that the Russians are also playing at this game, but one would expect Russian bots and trolls to be a bit more subtle than the typical confrontive, in your face Trump overzealous supporter.

Now here I am not talking about Trump supporters who will understandably respond if you criticize him in an open forum.  That is to be expected and if you can’t stand the heat in that kind of venue, you have no business in that particular kitchen.  No, when I use the “term trolls” here I are referring to the Trump reprobates who sneak into liberal/anti-trump groups on social media platforms such as Facebook with the goal of harassing the legitimate members who post there.

There are well over one hundred groups on Facebook whose rules in one way or another forbid the kind of trolling described here.  However, these groups may have anywhere from a few hundred to over two hundred thousand members, so they are difficult for the administers to police and it is almost impossible to keep all of the Trump trolls out.  The administrators of such groups can only eject trolls from their groups if they manage to make their way in

Now what kind of person thinks it’s fun to harass other people in their private groups? What kind of person would waste their time in that kind of endeavor? Obviously they are a bunch of real losers who have noting better to do with their time.  Only the chronically immature and malicious individuals fit that description.

On the other hand it is usually easy for the administrators of these Facebook groups to identify and get rid of the trolls once they begin to harass group members with their posts. As soon as they begin their harassment tactics, they essentially self-identify.  If and when other members in the group alert the administrators to their presence by bringing attention to their posts, the administrators can revoke the trolls’ membership and throw them out of the group.

Of course, this prompts the trolls to be more creative.  One of the most common tricks is for a troll to set up multiple fake Facebook profiles or ID’s (which is explicitly against Facebook rules). These profiles can usually be identified as such because they contain only the very basic information and photographs necessary to set up a new profile, with none of the usual additional content which has been added over time.  This is a useful tactic because if one fake persona is thrown out of a group, additional fake identities belonging the same troll are still available to continue the harassment.  In addition, it isn’t unusual for a troll to use two or more of these fake personas to attack a group member in concert so it appears that the attacks are coming from multiple people.

A relatively new weapon in the troll arsenal is to lay relatively low in liberal/anti-Trump groups while the troll determines which members are most effective in making anti-Trump posts.  Once such a person is identified, the troll attacks the member personally instead of exposing himself by attacking the person’s anti-Trump message.  (This is a situation where the trolls often use of two are more fake personas to attack the target in concert.)  While the real reason for attack is usually clear to the person in the cross hairs, if that person tries to raise the “troll alarm”, the troll indignantly claims that freedom of speech is being denied to group members, painting the person who was attacked as the bad guy.

Trump trolls are everywhere.  They are often easy to identify and exterminate, but they can also hide in plain sight.  It is a constant battle to keep them from harassing private Facebook group members.  The first defense is for group administrators to check the profile of every person who applies for group membership and reject those whose profiles which look suspicious.  The next line of defense is for group members to always be on the alert for those who fit the troll profile.  Once a troll is identified, members should alert the group administrator(s) to the troll’s presence in the group.  Finally, the administrator(s) have to be willing to exile trolls from the group. Aggressive action is needed to rid social media of these reprobates.

One final thought:  Maybe a few exist, but I have never heard of an anti-Trump troll – someone who sneaks into pro-Trump groups for the sole purpose of harassing pro-Trump members.  I can only conclude those who understand the real danger that Donald Trump and his most zealous supporters pose for this country aren’t the kind of low-life juvenile delinquents who get their jollies by trying to make other people miserable.

Cajun    4/19/2018