How To Identify Paid Political Internet Trolls on Facebook
Think of political internet trolls as a sort of “moderators” -to put it nicely- of the comment sections, found either on social media sites or directly in the comment section under the article itself. These trolls’ main purpose and job are rather simple and straightforward. They are there to steer the conversation into a certain direction, interact with other commentators, give the impression that their point of view has supporters and traction, and in many cases, getting into verbally aggressive discussions so as to attract attention towards ‘their’ own paid-for views.
They are compensated for this by an unknown third party, who has an interest in getting a certain message across. These trolls are usually paid by the comment – so, if you’re constantly seeing someone commenting all over the place – that’s one of your first signs right there.
There is no certain way of telling if a comment belongs to a political internet troll, or if it belongs to someone who has a personal opinion he or she wants to put forward. And when it comes to the comment section of the actual article and not on Facebook, it gets even harder. That’s because they have the option the give whatever name they want without having to prove it in some way or another – in some cases, at least. But when it comes to Facebook, there are some giveaways that point to a possible political internet troll.
Remember that these examples here don’t mean that the profile definitely and 100% belongs to a troll, but chances are that it just might.
How could an average paid internet troll’s Facebook page look like?
Well, if their Facebook looks somewhat like this, then chances are that you’re dealing with a paid political internet troll. Why? Well, let’s break it down, shall we?
They have no personal photos of themselves.
This should be your first sign that something’s wrong. You can spot this directly in the comment section and it should draw your attention first. The reason why they don’t have photos of themselves is because this is not their personal Facebook profile, and they are hiding their true identities.
There could be cases of one or two photos of a person, probably stolen from the internet, but that is rarely the case. And as you can see in this one here, it also has a nationalistic ‘profile pic’ so as to emphasise their point more.
2. They have few or no visible friends whatsoever.
There are several reasons for this. For starters, they actually waste time looking for new people to add to their friend’s list, and they’re not paid to do that. Second, it’s somewhat pointless to do it in the first place, since the main purpose of this profile is to comment on various news sites and not to make it that credible in the first place.
And lastly, if for whatever reason Facebook asks them to verify their account, one of the questions they ask is to identify some of their friends from the list in order to prove that they actually know them. So, if they have many, so called, friends and they don’t know all of them, then their profile will be blocked by Facebook. You should know that political internet trolls do this for a living and they will most likely have more than one account from which they comment.
This doesn’t mean that all internet trolls have no friends – it could also mean that they have less than 60, let’s say.
3. They have nothing else on their wall.
Like with the friends thing, it’s somewhat pointless to share videos, photos, or anything else on their wall if they will not be paid for it. It’s not their personal profile – they’re working for money, and by the comment most likely.
So, what can we do about it?
Unfortunately, however, there’s no clear way to expose a political internet troll, and that’s largely why they’re such a threat to the well-being of both the internet and society as a whole.
One thing you can do, though, is to report the profile to Facebook. But because their profile is so basic, Facebook can’t really do anything about it, other than to save the report in their database. And if enough complaints are issued for that profile, they could actually do block it somehow – who knows.
Another good idea, and which is probably the best approach at the moment, is to identify an internet troll for what he is and then expose him by replying back to his comments. Your reply should warn other readers about what you’ve learned here, what are the telltale signs of a possible political internet troll and what to do in case they also find one.
Spread the word, make their jobs harder, and bring some truth back to the internet. Because, in the end – come on – how good of a message is it if they have to pay people to constantly ‘sell it’ to others? And you can be sure that they’re not paying any taxes for trolling either.