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What is Trolling?


"Trolling" is not quite the same as cyberbullying. Trolling is when someone deliberately posts inflammatory, offensive, or off-topic messages, images or comments online with the main intent of provoking an emotional response or disrupting normal on-topic discussion. People who take part in 'trolling' are referred to as 'trolls'. "Trolls" often argue that their behaviour is a "joke" and is about creating mischief or demonstrating freedom of speech; but for many, the viciousness and often personal nature of the comments verges on hate speech, threats and bullying, and can cause considerable distress.

Trolling can also have criminal consequences under the Malicious Communications Act which makes it an offence to send electronic communications that are indecent or highly offensive, contain threats or false information. If the reason for the communication is to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or any other person, the sender is guilty of an offence whether those targeted actually receive the message or not.