Internet trolls and haters will not like this news: Twitter has announced that it will hide the offensive and poor quality tweets within its security and control policies. The reason for this series of measures is to curb the abusive behaviors and harassment that occur in the network in an uncontrolled way. Freedom of expression will continue to be the highest of the company but from respect and tolerance. The filter will serve the users so that they can, optionally, hide the spam or inappropriate content.
The measures taken by the gigantic social network are based on three pillars:
- Detection of abusive accounts. Twitter will increase its efforts to detect and eliminate the accounts of those people who create them for purposes of abuse or harassment.
- Introducing the most secure search results. The objective of the measure is to avoid displaying sensitive content or coming from blocked accounts.
- Blocking potentially abusive or low quality tweets. The answers may be visible to the user but will remain in a kind of spam folder.
With this measure, the gigantic social network will put a stop to the abusive comments of Internet trolls and haters. It remains to know how the implanted system will work and how the trolls and haters will be engineered to be able to continue to draw the attention of the audience. This is a web of psychology, so the question is obvious: how is the psychology of internet troll? Why do they behave like that?
Psychological troll profile.
First of all, it is appropriate to define conceptually the terms and the differences between troll and hater. The term troll refers to a person who publishes content in a social community (social networks, blogs, chats, forums, etc.) with the intention of generating controversy, creating a conflict, provoking or simply calling Attention with the sole purpose of entertaining.
There are different types of troll, the clown and the aggressive:
Their mission is to make grace, use social networks and comment boxes are the perfect place to take advantage of any situation to create a joke about it. If they do not mess with anyone they are harmless and fulfill their humorous function. They are the first to create the perfect meme in search of becoming viral and to be the center of attention, which gives them a certain social prestige.
They seek approval (as many as possible) and membership in the group. In real life would be the typical graciosete class that makes all the jokes or messes with the teacher in search of the laughter of his classmates. On the Internet there are no physical laughter, but lots of emoticons, retuits, likes and ways to share your “work of art”.
These are those people whose comments can be more hurtful, annoying, abusive and malicious. They are those in which Twitter will focus its security policies (or hopefully). Perhaps within this type of trolleys we could locate the haters, who are those who, in addition to seeking to excel in the community with their hurtful and unresponsive methods, reaffirm their beliefs and take them as unique, defending them by all means.
This type of trolleys show a clear lack of empathy, they forget that behind the screen are natural persons without caring to hurt their feelings and emotions. In real life it would be the closest thing to bullying or bullying.
The social disinhibition and anonymity provided by social networks facilitate the flowering of this type of people in search of stimuli that allow them to alleviate their needs of action-reaction. This phenomenon is the same as for example during demonstrations. A person in the middle of many can be uninhibited and unleash their aggressive behaviors. Imagine a demonstration with millions of people, that’s what happens in social networks.
The Dark Triad of Personality.
According to a Canadian study of the Universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg, British Columbia these people fulfill what in psychology is called the Dark Triad of Personality characterized by narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism:
- Narcissism: tendencies to grandiosity, exhibitionism, do not accept criticism, lack of empathy and search for admiration.
- Machiavellianism: tendency to manipulate in social contexts using any kind of tool or persuasion to achieve a purpose or self interest.
- Psychopathy: to better understand this concept visit this other article: Nearly Psychopaths. Basically, they are people with socially deviant behaviors, usually superficial, lacking empathy and feelings of guilt or remorse. Egocentric, manipulative and impulsive people who transgress the rules in search of sensations
Imagine a person with these psychological traits and a huge range of possibilities that lends the Internet to unleash their most primitive needs and enhanced even more by anonymity, the dream of every narcissist-Machiavellian-psychopath.
>> Related article: What are almost psychopaths?
How to defend yourself from haters.
The first basic rule is to ignore. “Don´t feed the troll.” However, both on the Internet and in real life, the best way to defend ourselves from trolls and haters is by improving our emotional intelligence, applying assertiveness techniques that manage to paralyze the action-reaction cycle that stimulates hater. Violence generates violence.
Learn to avoid such discussions assertively in this article: 7 assertive techniques to avoid arguments.
However, on the Internet the troll can know the scope of his feat or feel already reinforced by the mere fact of being the “first comment.” He knows he has been read, he has already triumphed. So sometimes you have to close the doors and take action.
>> Related article: 10 strategies to prevent violence in sport.
The measure that Twitter has taken on the web is similar to the measures that should be implemented in schools and other communities to avoid harassment and violation of social norms. People with features of the dark personality triad will try to alleviate their sensory needs, sometimes they do so only by playing on the Internet. The problem could be if you refer to real life, so we must be aware that these mediated are not just for the Internet. Haters have always existed in all walks of life and as long as there are people with these personalities will try to open their way where they allow.
Stop the abuse, wherever.
Erin E. Buckels, Paul D. Trapnell, Delroy L. Paulhus, Trolls just want to have fun, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 67, September 2014, Pages 97-102, ISSN 0191-8869, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.01.016. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886914000324)