The internet has, without a doubt, changed the way we live. It has revolutionized business, forever changed the way we consume, process and spread information, but it has also influenced the way we communicate. The relative anonymity that the world wide web allows has its consequences. Internet Trolls are one of them.

Behind the curtain of anonymity

Hidden behind the curtain of anonymity are often our deepest fears and most intimate emotions. What would someone find if they were to go through your search history? The relative anonymity (relative because no one is fully anonymous and everything that you do online is being recorded, tracked and can be traced back to you because our internet privacy has been invaded) of the internet offers damaged individuals a platform for pouring out the most intimate of personal frustrations and stating radical opinions, without getting personally judged or ever facing the consequences.

However, internet trolls cannot be generalized and some of them have different motifs. An online magazine, Alternet, talked to internet trolls and here's what one of them said: "Some of these interactions that I have, it’s like Borscht Belt stuff. I say one thing, and somebody’s like, ‘Whaddaya mean?’ Then I drop the punchline. There’s something so pure about that, like, corny, old-timey joke structure that I love. And then I love the fact that these people don’t know that they’re part of it.”

Why troll?

Clearly, there is a fine line between trolling and cyber bullying. A lot of trolls do it for fun, while others do it professionally, but most of them do it to provoke a reaction. So, what is the psychology behind trolling?

According to Psychology Today, these are the main reasons people troll the internet:

  • Anonymity
  • Perceived obscurity
  • Social identity alliance
  • Desensitization
  • Perceived absence of consequences
  • Perceived majority status

Trolling may seem like harmless fun at a glance, but the internet is absolutely enormous and the most popular websites in the world, like social media websites, have fallen victim to professional government agents whose only job it is to spread propaganda.

It's no secret that internet trolls may have helped Donald Trump win and they continue to flood social media websites with memes and messages about the "God emperor", as they refer to the president.

Internet trolling is more than meets the eye. It is much more than good-natured fun and reaction seeking.