Troll Hunters


Trolls write hate-filled comments and bother people on the internet. Bruce Gulland and Christy VanArragon look at one interesting way to fight these trolls.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Bruce Gulland.

Voice 2 

And I’m Christy VanArragon. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand - no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Once upon a time, there was a quiet country town. Everyone in the town lived peacefully together. But there was one problem. Outside the town there was a bridge. Under this bridge lived a troll. He was two times as big as a human. And he was very mean. He caused a lot of trouble for the people in the town. They could not cross the bridge without him bullying them. He threw stones at them. He called them bad names. And worst of all, he would not let them cross the bridge. The troll forced the people to give him money or food. Or he would block their way across. The troll was stronger than the people in the town. What could they do?

Voice 2 

This is the beginning of a story from Northern Europe. There are many stories of trolls in this part of the world.
In modern life, there is another kind of troll: the internet troll. Internet trolls are people who use the internet to attack other people. Sometimes they use social media to insult someone. Often, trolls will target one person and send them hurtful messages. They sometimes break into people’s private accounts. They use the information they find there to hurt the person even more. In old stories about bridge trolls there is usually a solution. People call in strong warriors. The warriors hunt and fight the trolls. But what does internet troll fighting look like? Today’s Spotlight is on the Swedish television show Troll Hunter.

Voice 1 

Robert Aschberg is a famous news reporter from Sweden. He says that his country has a troll problem. About 95% percent of the population uses high speed internet. Because of this, Sweden has become very successful in the computer software industry. But this also means there are many possible victims for trolls. In Sweden it is also easier for trolls to find other people’s information. Mårten Schulz teaches law at the University of Stockholm. He tells technology review dot com

Voice 3 

“The government shares a lot of information publicly online. You would not be able to get it outside of Sweden. We have weak protection of privacy here.”

Voice 2 

Trolling is a huge social problem. In some cases, trolling in Sweden has led to terrible events.  Several young people have tried to kill themselves because of online insults. In 2013 there was even a riot. It was in the city of Gothenburg. Teenagers there were angry over an Instagram page. People use Instagram to share pictures over the internet. But people on this page were sharing sexual pictures of students. The page also shared private, personal stories. Some of the stories were not even true. Internet trolls had invented these stories.

Voice 1 

In Sweden, it is illegal to threaten other people with harm. It is also illegal to steal their personal information. But no one can see the people who do this over the internet. No one knows who they are. The police do not know who to punish. As a reporter, Aschberg has seen many cases like this. He told Al Jazeera,

Voice 4 

“Many cases stay in my mind. But I think the saddest are when children get hurt. Their parents do not understand the effects of trolling. The school does not either. When they go to the police, some of the police ask, ‘What is Instagram?’”

Voice 2 

Aschberg saw that all this trolling was a problem. And the police had no solution. So he created his own way of fighting internet hate. He started a television show called Troll Hunter. It is a reality show. Auschberg and his crew create the show from events that have really happened.

Voice 1 

Auchberg and his team find people who have been hurt by trolls. Then, they and his team search through what the troll has written. Often the trolls make mistakes. Some trolls will write things about themselves. Many trolls use several emails or accounts. Auchberg’s team can find similar things about those accounts. Then, they can discover the troll’s name and other information. They can get the troll’s telephone number, and even discover where the person lives. But the troll hunters do not stop there.

Voice 2 

Auchberg and his team do something extreme. They bring their cameras where the troll lives. Then, Auchberg talks with the troll. Often, he will read the comments the troll made online. He talks to the troll about the victim. Auchberg shows the troll that there is a real person that the troll has hurt. Then, he informs the troll that the troll will have to go to court.

Voice 1 

Some people do not like the troll hunter show. Some say it will not really stop the trolls. They will continue to bully and insult people. Others say that it does not go far enough. There is no way for Auchberg and his crew to reach every troll. And some of the trolls they hunt get away. But for Auchberg, catching every troll is not the point of Troll Hunter. The point is to show that bullying others on the internet is wrong. And that it is a crime which can be punished. Auchberg does not hope to catch every troll. But he hopes his show makes people think more about trolling. He told Al Jazeera,

Voice 4 

“I have hope. The internet is still new in human history. I think that people will get used to the internet. They will start to act differently. But you have to discuss it. You have to punish the criminals. In the Stone Age, when people from different tribes met, they started wars. But sooner or later they made peace. Peace was what made them succeed.”

Voice 2 

Auchberg and his team hope one day there will be peace on the internet. That may take a very long time. But until that day comes, there are people like the troll hunters. Like the troll hunters in old stories, they will bring peace. They will help us talk about trolls. They will help us understand why some people are unkind to others. By going after trolls, they help make the internet a better place. They work toward making the internet a place where everyone can feel safe.

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Dan Christmann. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Troll Hunters.”

Voice 2 

Tell us what you think about today’s program. You can leave a comment on our website. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What can people do when they find hate on the internet? Have you ever seen hate on the internet?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Abbanarasulullahi
said on November 02, 2015

No

Avatar Spotlight
Mattia Pascal
said on November 02, 2015

They should do like Tyler said once: Just walk away from the screen and pretend that it never happened.

Avatar Spotlight
CharlesOlavo
said on September 15, 2016

Hello guys, I agree with @Mattia Pascal

Avatar Spotlight
Giant
said on September 15, 2016

The best way to fight trolls is to neglect them, and not to engage with them in interactions ! They will get lost !

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on September 24, 2016

from: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Saturday 24, September 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Christy VanArragon, Dan Christimann,, Bruce Gulland, and Michio Ozaki:

At first, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one great article. Thanks!

I have read about this in the internet. So, people insult each other when they find hate on the internet.
No, I have never. Thank God!

The best regard,
Severino Ramos
Brazil

Avatar Spotlight
Giant
said on February 20, 2017

When people find some hate on the internet , they should act like follows :
1. Trying not to behave like the trolls themselves , which mean not to stoop their levels or their behavior.
2. Just be calm and talk to them peacfully , explain them that their acts are unacceptable , and they shouldnt hurt people .
3. Ignore them completely when they insist to be rude trying to show them you aint affected by their insults .
4. Finally try to block them if you can , the best way to get rid of them .