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How to Handle Internet Trolls

Moe Sid

Afluencer Correspondent

Trolling is a real problem and nobody seems to be immune. Both men and women face cyberbullying as the internet makes it easy for people to hide behind fake identities and do whatever they wish to do.

About 36.5% of people agree that they have been bullied online at some point in their life. Another 17.4% say they’ve faced cyberbullying in the last 30 days. The problem seems to be more prevalent among teens and about 60% have been victims of cyberbullying.

This is because a large number of teens are on the web and many are trying to be influencers. Unfortunately, social media stars are always at the receiving end as it’s easier to bully or troll them.

Not Something New

Trolling isn’t a new concept. Bullying happens in the real world and now the internet isn’t safe either.

Internet trolls have been in existence since the ‘90s; however, they’re more prevalent today.

Trolling refers to posting inflammatory, digressive, extraneous, off-topic, or insincere online, with one intention – to provoke others or manipulate their perception.

Even popular names like Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, and Donald Trump receive online hate, sometimes for no reason. Many reports suggest that people ‘troll’ for fun. Some experts believe that trolls have psychological issues that are treatable.

Despite strict pleasures, social media has failed to stop trolling, and hate speech is still a common occurrence on almost all major platforms.

Here are some examples of trolling:

Remember that there’s a difference between criticism and trolling. The former comes with pure intentions, and the latter just to cause harm. As an influencer, you must be ready to listen to criticism but not trolling.

We know that being harassed by internet trolls can result in social anxiety, depression, a lack of self-esteem, and other such problems. If you’re dealing with trolls then check these tips as they may help you overcome the situation.

Block Trolls

This is the easiest and the healthiest way to deal with internet trolls. Have a ‘no trolls’ policy and be quick to block people who offer nothing but negativity.

Almost all social media platforms give users the option to block others. Once you block someone, they will not be able to access your profile. While it’s common for trolls to come back with new IDs, they will eventually realize that you will not tolerate their behavior.

Many major platforms already have similar policies in place. Content Marketing Institute, for example, doesn’t allow users to leave negative comments.

Blog Comment Policy | Content Marketing Institute | How to Handle Internet Trolls

We know that Facebook also has systems to identify and mark ‘negative’ comments. The platform often bans people when they receive reports for hate speech. Since you have control over your profile, you can do the same.

Give Them No Attention

We know it can be hard for people to pay no attention to trolls. Even people who claim they avoid internet trolls often end up reading what they say. You have to be strong if you want to be an influencer because no matter how good you are, there will always be naysayers.

Don’t like their comments, do not reply to what they say. The key lies in not doing what they want you to do as that will only encourage them.

Close Comments and DM

Instagram and some other apps allow users to block comments, i.e: stop people from leaving comments under posts. This can be a great way to discourage people from leaving comments under your posts; however, it might not be suitable for everyone since influencers want engagement, and blocking comments can prevent your posts from reaching more people.

You can be a little clever and only block comments under pictures or videos that you think may trigger trolls.

In the same manner, you can stop strangers or people who aren’t linked to you from sending you DMs. Instagram and Facebook already have a ‘spam’ feature that filters messages. You can tighten it even more by adding further security.

Name and Shame Them

This trick is for the braveheart as it requires guts to name and shame people because their supporters may come back to attack you. Still, this trick can be effective as it may discourage others.

Ask them to come up with facts and not lies but make sure not to give attention to every troll on the internet. But, remember to know when to stop. Some influences end up being mean and rude. This can harm your image. Keep control of your emotions and do not get carried away no matter what others have to say.

Use Humor and Kindness

A great way to nip the evil in the bud is to use humor and kindness. No matter what someone has to say, respond with humor or kindness.

Example of social media user responding to a mean comment

Someone leaves you mean comments? Laugh at the situation.

Someone’s rude? Be kind.

Once people realize they can’t hurt you, they’ll stop trying. It might also be a good idea to join the movement and encourage people to speak against cyberbullying. Trolls are less likely to bother people who are vocal.

Do Not Encourage Hate

This might come as a surprise to some but celebs and influencers have been found to encourage trolling, often inadvertently.

Every time you troll someone, even if it’s a joke, it encourages your followers to do the same. Look at Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, they both had to face constant trolling from fans of the other party when the news of their breakup went public.

While they didn’t encourage this, the fact is that influencers and social media stars have fandoms that will take no time to attack people if they’re found to be at loggerheads with their favorite star.

It’s your responsibility to discourage this from happening and to avoid talking negatively about others.

Not many people know this but the law protects you and you may have the option to seek legal action against internet trolls, especially if they use false information to defame you or send threats.

Sometimes, merely telling people you may seek legal action may be enough. Most trolls are afraid of facing prosecution and will stop bothering you if they realize you intend to go the legal route.

You’ll need the help of a legal attorney to fight your case but it may be worth the money and trouble since it will not only punish the culprit but also send a strong message to others.

Influencers need to come together to fight online hate and teach people the importance of being positive. Many influencers are already working on making a change and you can do so too by being positive.

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