The Social Media Blog

Your source of university social media information

Don't Feed the Trolls

Lurking behind most social sites is a nasty troll waiting to spoil the party. Trolls are users who deliberately inflame an online community by posting content or comments with the aim of provoking an emotional response. Many Facebook page managers find their page unexpectedly targeted by trolls and there can be nothing more infuriating than having a pleasant discussion disrupted by an offensive and nonsensical remark.

But fear not: trolls aren’t that scary once you work out their weakness. Here’s a three-step guide to defeating the troll.

  • Ignore them - trolls feed off attention. They want a reaction from you. They want you to be angry. It’s tempting to fight back and get into an argument with them but this will only encourage the troll. The best thing you can do is to simply ignore them.

But if the comments cross the line and become a personal attack or involve some form of discrimination, then it can no longer be ignored. Immediately delete those offensive and potentially defamatory remarks.

It’s also important not to confuse an act of trolling with annoyed customers venting their frustration. If a person has a genuine grievance, the worst thing you can do is to ignore them.

  • Respond with the right facts – sometimes, when the troll makes false or misleading remarks about your organization, it is important to respond with the correct facts. After all, it’s a public forum and you don’t want the online community to get the wrong facts about your organization.

The tone you use is important. The troll may use provocative language to get you to respond in kind. It’s important that you don’t fall for that trap. You don’t want an online war to break out between you and the troll. If you remain calm and rational in response, it’ll make the troll’s comments look childish and insignificant.

  • Ban them – What if you find yourself facing a particularly stubborn troll that just won’t go away? If all else fails, ban them. At the end of the day, it is your page. You have the right to determine who can post and comment on your page. You also have a responsibility to ensure that your community of fans have a safe and secure space to interact with one another without their conversations being hijacked by a belligerent troll.

Armed with this three-step guide, you can bravely venture out and confront any trolls that come near your page.