Commenting on news and posts on social media is a shared habit upon which the very nature of networks is based.
A healthy habit of dialogue and comparison that benefits both the satisfaction of individuals (“I published something they liked, so for a sort of transfer 2.0 I was also appreciated”) and brand metrics (“With this threshold of interaction on the fan page, I’ll eat edge rank “). A love story, the one between social networks and users , which in 10 years has taught us to understand people better, recognize their approach to communication, elegantly ban unsuspected harassers.
Who are the trolls and how they thrive on social media
As in any romance, however, super villains, good and evil stepmothers get in the way to ruin the romance. In our story the villains take the all Northern European form of noisy and rude little men: the trolls .
Assisted by less annoying but still antithetical followers (emoticons and interactions, colored champions of non-communication),
An aptitude for digital brawling that puts keyboard lions at the center of a freak circus full of bored spectators every day.
Now, without going into the merits of who says what to whom or why (assuming that if you don’t have trolls in your feed, you are the troll), let’s analyze from the point of view of those who work with social media . troll phenomenon . For ease of exposure we will limit ourselves to the Facebook universe , and specifically to the fan pages of any brand (from the multinational to the local chess club).
Passionate conversations lead to comments, replies to comments, likes to comments, and so on. Metrics that soar alternate with volumes of views and reach to make even the best of the good-journalist pages pale . Triple digit notification counters make the page admin prouder than a Labrador puppy owner in the park.
Social Media Crisis against trolls and hoaxes
A good thing, isn’t it? Not really. Because the advertising dogma “for better or for worse as long as we talk about it” has died since everyone can tell everyone everything without filters (see countless cases of Social Media Crisis ) and the good page manager knows very well that a shitstorm (they are called so, sorry) is today one of the worst evils that can happen to the communication of a brand . All this power to smear brands, products, newspapers and public figures in the hands of angry users to [insert current trend topic] represents a really thin eggshell.
The coexistence of the ” business of hoaxes ” and the ferocious would be, for many political analysts, a determining factor in the creation / manipulation of public opinion and even in the outcome of elections.
Maiolica, recognized as one of the biggest buffaloes on the Italian web, has shown in multiple interviews how most of his articles with over-the-top headlines actually contain random words or even content opposite to the title. This “experiment” therefore tells of a mania for sharing and commenting on posts that does not require even a second of reading. In the face of thoughtless sharing and therefore mind-boggling numbers of interaction, is it worth jeopardizing the perception of truthfulness of what we read online? For the pockets of the hosts of the buffalo sites certainly yes (at least until they are closed). Oversharing users, on the other hand, come out with broken bones, publicly exposed for their hasty indignant fury.
Fines to the hoax sites … but how to oblige to inquire?
The Norwegian news site NRK has recently introduced a mandatory quiz to access the comments section , a sort of evolved captcha that can be easily overcome if you have read the article to the end (below a version mistranslated from Norwegian by Google Translate)
The aim would be to force people to read the news before having their say, but also to give those who are about to indulge in the comments section take a breather. A daring experiment that overshadows the number of comments in favor of a higher quality of conversation.
To date, there are still no ways to apply this ” minimum knowledge threshold ” to social networks , but Facebook has already said it is on the way to ensure greater control over hoaxes and trolls .
It will all depend on us users. Off line it is not uncommon to animate discussions even on topics that we know less than our interlocutors, but you know, tavern chatter remains as it is. On the web every word remains well recorded and visible . And re-reading ourselves years later does not always make us proud of ourselves.