What is Twitter trolling?

Twitter trolls post offensive tweets and look for a reaction. Find out more and learn what to do if you are targeted!

What is Twitter trolling?
  • A troll is someone who abuses people online looking for an emotional reaction.
  • Trolling on Twitter can include offensive jokes, abusive tweets and threats.
  • Trolls often don't use their own name so their identity isn't revealed.
  • If you feel intimidated or abused over Twitter action will can be taken against these trolls.

Twitter is a great platform to interact with your friends, family, celebrities and people with similar interests. From hashtags to retweets, Twitter has a language of its own!

What is a Twitter troll?

A troll is a word used to describe someone who posts online abuse. This can be anything from offensive jokes, to abuse and threats. 

The aim of a twitter troll is to get an emotional response from the person they have tweeted or to make them feel intimidated.

Twitter trolls often post from an anonymous account, meaning it can be difficult to know who the real person behind the account is.

Twitter trolls in action

There have been several examples of high profile twitter trolls making threats or being abusive. In September 2013 it was reported - by Scotland Yard - that online trolling accounted for 1,500 crimes a year, the vast majority come from Twitter and Facebook. 

Caroline Criado-Perez, troll victim.

Twitter has enabled people to behave in a way they wouldn’t face to face.

In July 2013, Caroline Criado-Perez, a campaigner who successfully campaigned for Jane Austin’s face to be put on the back of an English banknote, received a series of violent threats and sexist abuse over Twitter. After a police investigation, a 21 year old man in Manchester was then arrested for his part in abusive trolling.

Trolls can be punished for their offensive actions, and there are consequences to abusive and bullying trolling behaviour!

What can I do if I am being targeted by Twitter trolls?

If you feel you are being targeted - for whatever reason - by Twitter trolls there are a number of things you can do:

  • If a troll threatens you, just because it is online doesn’t mean you should take the threat any less seriously. Report them to Twitter and get the police involved.
  • If someone abuses you, block them!
  • If the abuse is serious, report the tweets to Twitter!
  • Just because someone has written to you, don’t think you have to reply. A troll is looking for a reaction, and if you give them one, they might think they have ‘won’.
  • Don’t RT the abusive tweets. High profile celebrities - who have been trolled - often retweet the post to highlight the abuse to their followers and the media. However, without their level of followers, the tweet may not be condemned and will only work to give the troll the attention they craze.
  • You don’t have to put up with it! Everyone has the right to be online without fear or intimidation.
  • If people are consistently trolling your tweets with offensive posts, you can put your Twitter profile on private. Protected tweets will only be visible to approved Twitter followers.

Where can I get more support?

  • ChildLine - Call ChildLine for free on 0800 1111 to talk to someone about bullying, or anything else that's on your mind.