The term ‘troll’ is thought to derive from a fishing technique of slowly dragging a baited hook from a moving boat. Internet ‘trolls’ post inflammatory remarks (the metaphorical ‘bait’) to trigger a response from those they have abused (the metaphorical ‘fish’).
Trolls say they do it for the ‘LULZ’, or laughs, a computer variation of LOL, meaning Laugh Out Loud.
In other words, their sociopathic behaviour is as much about manipulation and control as causing offence and inducing despair.
Of course, ‘trolls’ go to extraordinary lengths to protect their own personal lives and privacy. Anonymity is their most potent weapon.
It is an offence under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, punishable by up to six months in prison, to send an ‘electronic message’ that is ‘grossly offensive’ or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character’.
Last year, though 3,105 people were prosecuted, the statistics cover all forms of electronic communication, including phone calls.
Yet the list of those who have been subjected to sickening abuse at the hands of ‘trolls’ grows longer every week. According to the mores of this dark sub-culture, anyone is ‘fair game’.
As we are so fond of saying – this is what Fitch is – and the above fits his persona perfectly !