Child Online Safeguarding Team
Trolling and Internet Bullying

Social Media

Quick Links:
| What is 'Trolling'? | Is trolling an offence? |
| Tips for addressing the issue | Reporting to the website being used |
| Reporting to Hertfordshire Constabulary |


What is ‘Trolling’?

According to Internet sources, 'trolling' (also known as cyber bullying or Internet-bullying) is the anti-social act of causing personal conflict and controversy online. It has been named ‘trolling’ after the wicked troll creatures of children's tales.  In the early days of the Internet, it was labelled as ‘Flaming’.I Hate You


Trolling is recognised as deliberately inflicting hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny, or just simple bickering between others.  People who partake in ‘trolling’ are referred to as ‘trolls’.  They use any environment where they are allowed to make public comments, such as blog sites, social networks (like Facebook® and Twitter®), news sites, discussion forums, and game chat.


Unfortunately, trolling is a phenomenon that has swept across websites in recent years. Supporters argue it's about humour or freedom of speech. However, for some the ferocity and personal nature of the abuse causes great distress.


One of the first high-profile cases emerged in the US state of Missouri in 2006, when 13-year-old Megan Meier took her own life after being bullied online.


Internet experts say the key is not to "feed the troll" by offering them a response.


Is trolling an offence?


Persons engaging in Internet trolling are immediately committing an offence under the Malicious Communications Act.Internet bullying

The difficulty arises when identifying offenders in Internet trolling, as these offences tend to be committed using made up ‘usernames’ or fake profiles.
The Malicious Communications Act states:

• Any person who sends a letter, electronic communication or article of any description to a person that conveys a message that is indecent or highly offensive, a threat or false information.  If the reason for that communication was to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person, then the sender is guilty of an offence.

• This includes mobile phones and the Internet (any form of electronic communication).

• The offence occurs whether those targeted actually receive the message or not.


What can I do about trolling or cyber-bullying?


Tips for addressing the issue

1) Some tips for initially addressing the issue of a troll could be:


a) Do not respond to the troll.

b) Block the troll.

c) Change your privacy settings.

d) Speak to a family member or friend and notify them of what has happened and how it may have affected you.


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Reporting to the website being used


2) You should report the malicious behaviour to the website being used.


Information on how to report abuse on some of the most popular social networking sites can be found by clicking the links below:


Reporting abuse to Facebook®

Find us on Facebook®

> Report abuse to Facebook®



Reporting abuse to Twitter®

Find us on Twitter®

> Report abuse to Twitter®



Reporting abuse to Instagram®


> Report abuse to Instagram®



Reporting abuse to YouTube®

Find us on YouTube®

> Report abuse to YouTube®



Reporting abuse to®®

> Report abuse to®



Reporting abuse to LinkedIn®


> Report abuse to LinkedIn®



Reporting abuse to Myspace®


> Report abuse to Myspace®



Reporting abuse to Flickr®


> Report abuse to Flickr®



Reporting abuse to Pinterest®


> Report abuse to Pinterest®


Reporting abuse to devia





> Report abuse to devianART®





> Report abuse to LiveJournal®





> Report abuse to Tagged®





> Report abuse to Ning®


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Reporting to Hertfordshire Constabulary


Hertfordshire Constabulary


3) If you are genuinely concerned, and wish to report trolling or Internet bullying as a crime, please contact Hertfordshire Constabulary via our non-emergency number, Telephone 101.  If it is an emergency (if someone is injured, in danger or there is a risk to someone’s life) you should call the emergency number, Telephone 999.


Trolling and Internet / Cyber-Bullying


Download our guide to dealing with cyber bullying:

Stay safe online leaflet


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Call Hertfordshire Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111