Segments in this Video

Rise of the Trolls: Introduction (02:58)


Developers initially created the internet for governments, militaries, and universities. Internet trolls hide behind a veil of anonymity and attack or provoke other individuals. Gregory Alan Elliott's trial could change the laws surrounding free speech.

Trolling vs. Stalking (02:58)

Gina Crosley-Corcoran writes "The Feminist Breeder." An internet troll sent "Working Person's Store Magazine" to her home address. The blogger attracts other stay-at-home moms who disagree with her opinions.

Troll's Motivations (05:24)

Psychologist Raj Persaud describes how the internet normalizes extreme behavior and creates a herd-like mentality. Wild Goose trolls with the Bill Waggoner crew (BWC), which posts offensive material on memorial websites. Gore and sexually explicit photos send victims emotions into overdrive.

Start of Internet Trolls (04:40)

Dr. Adam Steele explains how alt.tasteless incited a flame war with rec.pets.cats by pretending to be a frustrated cat lover. Trolls lie in wait for innocent victims.

Negativity on the Internet (04:20)

Persaud believes that if you have gossiped negatively about someone, you are more likely to become a troll. Scientists discovered the Schadenfreude effect and how it can raise one's self-esteem. Paul Trapnell explains the four tendencies of internet trolls: Machiavellian, narcissistic, psychopathic, and sadistic.

Trolling on the Rise (03:44)

Authorities arrested Elliot after Steph Guthrie complained he was stalking her. Elliot stood up for a boy who was being targeted by the "Women in Toronto" organization for his offensive video game.

Internet Attacks (02:53)

Elliot alleges that Guthrie created an orchestrated campaign to remove him from Twitter, even though he never violated the terms of service. A Toronto Court convicted him and removed his internet use for three years.

Reasons for Trolling (02:20)

Wild Goose explains that the BWC does not want his LULZcows to commit suicide, because it would not be entertaining. Crosley-Corcoran's trolls want her blog removed because they disagree with her opinions. "The Feminist Breeder" faced financial ruin after trolls targeted its sponsors.

Crosley-Corcoran's Solution (04:43)

Most of "The Feminist Breeder" membership agreed to pay. A troll called the police, stating Crosley-Corcoran was suicidal. Roman Horak explains that most trolls are not tech-savvy, but there are professional trolls for hire who write malware.

Internet Law (03:42)

In England, Isabella Sorley received twelve weeks in prison for writing a series of nasty tweets. Caroline Criado-Perez campaigned for a female figure to appear on a Bank of England note. Sorley threatened rape and murder.

Free Speech Issues (04:36)

Brendan O'Neill feels trolling is part of living in a free society. Jon Ronson believes public shaming on the internet is out of hand. Justine Sacco posted a racist tweet about Africa and AIDS; she lost her job.

Profound Consequences (03:16)

Sorley is remorseful about her tweets, but feels the punishment does not fit the crime. Criado-Perez obtained a restraining order. O'Neill believes troll hunters undermine free speech.

Elliot's Verdict (02:06)

The trial destroyed Elliot financially and damaged his reputation. Murphy describes how the internet will always remember his client as a misogynist.

Internet Behavior (03:24)

Crosley-Corcoran wishes people would treat the internet as a buffet, and walk away from anything they disagree with. Wild Goose cautions an individual's personal life needs to remain away from social media. O'Neill explains that people must be allowed to say hateful, critical, racist things to have free speech.

Credits: The Rise of the Trolls (00:52)

Credits: The Rise of the Trolls

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Rise of the Trolls

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Has Internet anonymity unleashed a ‘dark demon’ lurking in all of us? This film reveals the hard truths surrounding anonymity, dark instincts, and freedom on the Internet. Smartphones have put the Internet into our pockets and billions of people around the world are now connected online. Our lives have improved greatly, but this freedom has also made us vulnerable to a new kind of predator—the Internet troll. Hiding behind a veil of anonymity, trolls indulge their darkest impulses, attacking whoever they want with impunity. Once you become the target of a troll, what starts as a minor annoyance can escalate into a living nightmare. But who are trolls? And will the fight to stop them destroy our personal freedoms? In this film we meet: one of the most notorious online trolls who spends hours every week insulting and infuriating as many people as he can, just for laughs; Britain’s most notorious troll: a young woman jailed for sending six threatening tweets; the very first recorded troll in Internet history who led a digital ‘invasion’ of a cat lover’s chat board; a feminist blogger whose trolls are ramping up their tactics to harass her family; a Canadian psychologist who published the first-ever study of Internet trolls, uncovering the four dark personality traits that drive trolls in their cruelty; an accused Twitter troll whose precedent-setting court case will affect freedom of speech online worldwide; and a digital forensics expert who tracks down the most technically adept trolls.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL133179

ISBN: 978-1-64023-765-0

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.