Troll Hunting

Inside the world of online hate and its human fallout

Ginger Gorman,

Troll Hunting: Inside the world of online hate and its human fallout
 
 
In 2013, journalist Ginger Gorman was trolled online. She received scores of hateful tweets, including a death threat. A picture of Ginger heavily pregnant alongside her husband and two-and-half year old daughter appeared on a fascist website. Understandably she was terrified, but once the attack subsided, she found herself curious. Who were these trolls? And how and why did they coordinate such an attack? And how does someone fight back? Over the next five years  Gorman spoke to psychologists, trolling victims, law enforcement, academics and, most importantly, the trolls themselves, embedding herself into their online communities and their psyches in ways she had never anticipated. What she discovered was both profoundly shocking and fascinating. Syndicates of highly organised predator trolls across the globe systematically set out to disrupt and disturb. Some want to highlight the media’s alleged left-wing bias, some want to bring down capitalism, and some just want to have fun. Even if it means destroying someone’s life. . . The personal costs endured by the targets of trolling are frequently extreme, and victims usually find themselves frightened and alone. And what about the very real financial and economic costs of cyberhate? New research is finally putting a number on the shocking true cost to both individuals and the community. Gorman has uncovered links between trolling and cyberhate to real-life crimes such as terrorism, domestic violence and incitement to suicide. She has also mapped out a cohort of men – mostly angry young and white – who rightly or wrongly feel marginalised and disenfranchised; they are using the internet to express this. An intense and compelling read, Troll Hunting is an important window into not just the mindset and motivation of trolls, but the history of this kind of aberrant behaviour. Ginger Gorman has gained unprecedented access to trolls, even formed strange and enduring relationships with them, and her comprehensive investigation into what makes them tick has given us a brilliant book that is impossible to put down. 


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