Is The Internet Set To Tame Online Trolls?
Studies have shown that internet trolls are not happy people. We’ve all seen the different types of online trolls out there. The people who pick fights on Facebook posts. The ones who target public figures with abuse. The lone trolls and those that roam in packs, following the lead of websites that exist primarily to stoke up anger and hate. And of course, the chronically disgruntled troll who creeps out from under the bridge in search of opportunities to post nonsensical negative reviews or trash businesses.
These aren’t customers who had a negative experience and have a legitimate gripe. Businesses need to engage with genuinely unhappy consumers to show off their customer service. The trolls are online just to spew their anger at the world and spread negativity. But this might be the year that the internet pushes them back under the bridge.
Watchdog in the Works
Ireland is gearing up for battle against trolls with a proposed digital watchdog. This office could have the statutory power to order social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to remove material deemed offensive or abusive. Right now, anyone can remove posts made on their Facebook page. But it is harder to deal with an abusive post a troll makes a post about an individual or business on their own page.
The goal is to help individuals being abused online, particularly young people subjected to vicious cyber bullying. But it could also be good news for businesses that are subjected to outright abuse. Certainly, when we go into business we have to have a thick skin and be able to deal with criticism. We should welcome criticism in fact. It is a great learning opportunity, and when it happens online we can turn it around by genuinely looking after legitimate concerns.
Twitter is also planning to rein in online trolls. They’ve already taken step one by establishing new ways for people to report trolls and abusive behaviour the platform. The next step is preventing those suspended for abusive trolling from simply carrying on under a new identity. Twitter is also developing safer search options that screen for potentially offensive material.
No word yet on how these changes will affect any world leaders.