Having a viable social media presence is a must for celebrities and public figures. They use social to communicate with their fans, make announcements and build a following that cements their celebrity status.
Still, millions of followers, likes and shares have a dark side on social media. All that attention isn't always positive. There are all kinds of people online, and not all of them are kind, supportive, or well-meaning.
They are called trolls, i.e., people who deliberately post disruptive comments and messages online to cause pain, harass others and create as much disruption as they possibly can. And their targets are usually influencers, celebrities, and anyone with a reputation online.
What's The Harm In Trolling?
Trolls are malicious; there is no denying the fact that they cause significant harm and distress. Anyone who's ever been harassed online will tell you of the severe physical and psychological effects it can have on a person. Studies show that getting trolled can result in lowered self-esteem, depression, self-harm, thoughts of suicide, and eventually suicide.
British reality TV star Caroline Flack put a spotlight on the power of these haters and shamers when she committed suicide last year. Also, look up the fates of Japanese professional wrestler Hana Kimura and former model Charlotte Dawson.
These experiences are unfortunately not unique.
There is an emerging and unhealthy obsession with calling out famous people for not being correct (according to public perception). And that's just the start. Trolls thrive on anger and debate and aggravate conflicts by posting controversial opinions and disagreeing with anyone who interacts with them. They can even go as far as targeted threats, online stalking, and harassment.
Trolling On Twitter – The King Of Vitriol
Many TV, movie, and social media stars can tell you horrifying stories of the venom spewed on and about them on Twitter.
Twitter makes it easy for trolls to target their victims because it offers the ability to reach a celebrity through mentions and hashtags. And they get a kick out of their malice because the interactions are visible to a large audience, encouraging other haters to join in the thrill of anonymous cruelty.
Quitting Social –The Only Option?
Many people have become victims of Internet backlash, from leading stars like Justin Bieber to young celebrities like Millie Bobby Brown. Giving up social media might be the only logical solution for people to safeguard themselves against online abuse. But what about Instagram and YouTube influencers who've built their careers on their ability to keep in touch with their fans online?
Despite the threat to their careers, many stars simply delete their Twitter and social media accounts. Some come back eventually, but others have remained gone for good. The following celebrities are the latest in the lineup for giving up on social media:
The Twitter activist, former model, and cookbook author who had a following of almost 13.6 million on Twitter announced her exit from the platform just last week. She cited a series of online threats, harassment, and hatred that she had recently received.
Chrissy even faced online bullying and harassment after publicly sharing her grief about her miscarriage, with many internet trolls accusing her of using her miscarriage to gain popularity. Even though she started to block and unfollow many Twitter accounts in hopes of fighting off these threats, deactivating her account permanently was the only solution she could find.
The Orange Is The New Black actress also recently quit Twitter, after internet trolls starting spreading hate regarding her casting, saying "she wasn't lesbian enough" to play the role. After getting massive death threats, she decided to leave to save her online reputation and career.
Henry has recently been a victim of a viral Twitter thread that exposed him as a 'bottler'. To protect himself from all the negativity, Henry decided to deactivate all his social media accounts.
There Has to Be a Better Way
It is perfectly fine to question people in the public eye. But how do we demarcate fair criticism from rampant hate and abuse?
Building an online presence can put you smack dab in the middle of a longstanding battle of hate comments, malicious trolling, and constant comparisons. As online communication becomes more mainstream, it brings more opportunities for trolls to harass people. The only way to avoid becoming a victim of internet backlash is to spot suspicious activity and report it. It might also be a good idea to deploy tools like Moderate that can improve your social media experience by allowing you to automatically block and remove any troll comments from your social media pages.