Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Abusing the Internet trolls: A matter of 'moral panic'?

Date:
January 3, 2014
Source:
Inderscience
Summary:
Internet trolling is a matter of "moral panic", according to a new assessment. Researchers suggest that the misrepresentation by the media of all those who participate in this often negative but not always abusive behavior can have a detrimental effect on attitudes to younger Internet users in general.

Internet trolling is a matter of "moral panic," according to an assessment of this activity by Jonathan Bishop of the Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems in Brussels. Writing in the International Journal of Web Based Communities he suggests that the misrepresentation by the media of all those who participate in this often negative but not always abusive behaviour can have a detrimental effect on attitudes to younger internet users in general.

The phrase "Internet trolling" is presented by the media as being commenting in a needlessly sarcastic, facetious, abusive or offensive manner on social networking and other online forums. The term has become the phrase of choice for those who seek to censure the internet. The mass media, politicians and social pundits have found it increasingly useful shorthand for labeling anyone who publishes remarks with which they do not necessarily agree online.

As Bishop explains, the term "troll" has been evolutionary. "The use of the word trolling to refer to provocation was probably first used in the military to refer to the reeling in of enemy fighter jets into a dog-fight," he said. "As my paper shows it was used on the Internet in the 1990s to refer to enticing people into flame wars by saying things that would provoke others into posting abusive messages, called 'flames.'"

As with all areas of human activity there is a darker side to trolling and the media and pundits alike today use the term to refer to those people making abusive and threatening remarks to famous or infamous persons online. The difference between the irritating behaviour of a common internet troll and the latter is perhaps as stark as passersby tolerating the utterances of a street hawker and the person who stalks another and shouts through their letterbox or worse.

This latter perception has, Bishop suggests, been helpful for building the careers of politicians in search of causes to fight, as well as mass media organisations looking for a means to create a moral panic that provides both entertainment and interest to their audiences. "The mass media can be seen to have accommodated the word troll between 2010 and 2011," explains Bishop. "One thing that is certain of all media of all eras is that they rely on popular stereotypes to convey meanings that appeal to their audiences," he adds. Likewise, politicians and others will exploit the popularized terms used by the media to their own ends to demonise specific activities and to score political points against their opponents.

Bishop points out that the journalese shorthand misconstrued and exploited initially by the tabloid media and then adopted by the wider community of broadsheets, TV pundits and ultimately politicians simultaneously demonizes youth as celebrity-abusing trolls and then the victims of a broken society depending on the specific political agenda of the outlet. One might suggest that it is as if trolling is simply another ambiguous term with shades of meaning depending on context that is itself manipulated for political ends.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jonathan Bishop. Representations of 'trolls' in mass media communication: a review of media-texts and moral panics relating to 'internet trolling'. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2014; 10 (1): 7 DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2014.058384

Cite This Page:

Inderscience. "Abusing the Internet trolls: A matter of 'moral panic'?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140103085239.htm>.
Inderscience. (2014, January 3). Abusing the Internet trolls: A matter of 'moral panic'?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140103085239.htm
Inderscience. "Abusing the Internet trolls: A matter of 'moral panic'?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140103085239.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Earnings Put Smile on Investors Faces

Facebook Earnings Put Smile on Investors Faces

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Facebook earnings beat forecasts- with revenue climbing 61 percent. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
StubHub Caught in Global Cyber Crime Ring

StubHub Caught in Global Cyber Crime Ring

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) eBay's StubHub is caught up in an international cyber crime ring stretching from North America to Europe. Conway G. Gittens reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins