An army of bots takes over the troll world
In April 2015 we waged a war against online misogyny. Our army consisted of 160 bots (Twitter profiles controlled by a computer program) and the only weapons they toted were love, feminism and humour.
Through a simple language analysis of Twitter data, we located 5,000 people tweeting the type of dangerous language, often used to harass and incite violence against women and trans people. These Twitter users, or trolls (the name given to people who harass others online) were enrolled in our six-step self-help program, Zero Trollerance. Each day for six days, the trolls received a tweet from one of our many Troll Coach bots, with a video link to the day’s step, as well as general motivation and inspiration. So ultimately, we trolled the trolls. Except we only used kindness, not hate.
Zero Trollerance guru Adler King will help you
The Zero Trollerance program, designed to educate sexist Twitter trolls on appropriate behavior online, is led by motivational guru, Adler King. Through six video tutorials, he guides trolls with kindness and wisdom, through basic steps such as separating from the internet, dealing with anger, embracing the logic of feminism and finding a new way of being in the world. While few of the trolls probably actually watched the videos, the intervention created a good buzz around the issue of gender-based harassment on Twitter. Covered in plenty of media, it contributed to the longtime debate, about how to deal with the ugliness of society when amplified online. While technical fixes from platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are important and necessary, the need for organised responses, support for the harassed and counter speech are too. And making fun of sexists can surely never be a bad thing, right?
The campaign only ran for a week, but Adler King’s teachings live on and everyone is welcome to send their trolls to him for guidance. He can be found on Twitter, Facebook and at the Zero Trollerance website.