Can We Stop Calling Them Trolls Now?

Can We Stop Calling Them Trolls Now? May 22, 2015

I’m getting a bit tired of seeing the term “troll” used for people who abuse and dehumanize others on the internet. A troll is someone who says outrageous things they don’t believe just to get people upset, but a lot of the people we call trolls are just plain vile human beings. Here’s a perfect example:

Twitter users have expressed outrage at a troll’s use of Twitter’s promoted tweets to insert abuse targeting trans people into their feeds.

The troll account, pretending to be that of Australian activist and feminist campaigner Caitlin Roper, posted abuse and graphic images and promoted a tweet using Twitter’s paid-for native advertising service which called for trans people to kill themselves…

The account was suspended within hours by Twitter after multiple reports of abuse. The promoted tweet was also pulled from the service.

Roper, the activist whose account was impersonated, has been targeted for abuse before, including cloned accounts pretending to be her and making derogatory sexual comments.

She has been targeted by various “men’s rights groups” including a group called A Voice For Men. At this stage it is not known who was behind the troll account on Twitter.

Does it even matter whether whoever did this actually believes that trans people should kill themselves? Not a bit. Whether they believe it or not, they are absolute fucking scum and they need to be stopped. If you spend your time pretending to be a vile asshole on line, you aren’t pretending — you really are a vile asshole. So let’s call them what they are.

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