One of the many negative consequences of the pretended deregulated internet space, is the ability of the individual to act without consequences. Hence, the explosion of the spurious dark art form of chaotic trolling, at one time harnessing the tiresome antics and pranks of Kesey, Wolf, Wavy Gravy and the full ensemble of the Merrymakers, has devolved into dark depths of pathological attacks sparked by a collection of degenerates. The troubling behavior rivals the escalating behavior of the token teenager who receives an emergency room shot of endorphins to the brain with each insect enthusiastically squashed or ceremoniously destroyed with an M-80, and the world of the furry mammals is up next on the horizon in a diabolical and sociopathic kill game.
The proliferation of professional forty-something instigators lounging in their mother’s basement behind a device or screen and spewing pure raw and unjustified hate and vitriol towards individuals and businesses online with an ulterior motive, is a far cry from the epidemic plaguing the launch of internet dating in the late 1990’s. Of course, the sick humor of the time set in reality warned of the personal picture profile of an inviting and rubenesque 10 on the hotness scale of a blonde playfully frolicking on beaches, as simply a front for an unkempt dude hiding behind the keyboard and dressed only in tight whites and dress socks, and quite possibly enjoying the misleading intrigue just a bit too much for polite society. As the very least, the pioneering perverts established the line between real and fake, a border that has since fallen victim to ambiguity within the younger generations and an onset of unchecked gullibility. In a world of finely crafted skepticism, at least for those over the age of 30, the humorous pretense of low-grade sexual deviancy, has been replaced by insidious and meticulous attacks with the intent simply not to annoy, but to engage in blackmail, a concept completely foreign to the delusional perpetrator blinded and empowered by the fog of anonymity.
The most notable bleed through of digital jabbering morphing into the criminal realm, is the despicable act of a Kentucky radio host cryptically prompting listeners to harass an NCAA basketball official in the aftermath of a controversial tournament game, by broadcasting the ref’s personal information. The listeners of the show responded to the battle cry and peppered the referee’s home phone with relentless telephone calls and of course posted toxic online reviews of his roofing business using nicknames. Currently, accusations of criminal harassment against the radio talk show host are being heard in court, and a decision in the matter is pending. If the plaintiff is awarded damages, a long overdue and crucial precedent and may be set in regulating digital attacks that go too far. The sad state of affairs in the “refgate” saga, is just one example in the orchestrated intent to cause harm through social media on a daily basis. Whether it be a local butcher overrun by PETA members, the memorial page for a combat veteran tarnished by mental midgets, or a member of a conservative university organization doxxed through the elite of the humanities board, non-public figures are subject to vile attacks with limited recourse, and even with the treat of litigation as a possible defense, the troll element thrives and benefits from the Wild West internet approach to self-policing controlled chaos.
If the Smollett institution of training witnesses to respond favorably under the pressures of oath is not enough, digital companies have resorted to sordid tactics scraping the bottom of the barrel such as selling the meat from self-driving vehicle road kill behind the sustainable and antibiotic free label, by actually hiring the worst of the worst of online instigators to push products. Fake news has gravitated to fake reviews.
In employing the lowest common denominator of humanity displaying a conscience measured on the Kelvin scale, it is all about the reviews, reports the BBC, and the paid shills have absolutely no qualms about lying through their keyboards and devices to receive compensation for unscrupulous acts. For the product manufacturers, the apparent documented consumer testimony is worth billions, especially on a platform of Amazon, which offers a daunting and unrivaled selection of specific goods. Gaining separation from the competition is the one of the basic tenets of marketing 101, and businesses relying on ecommerce are willing to side step ethics and fair practices in taking advantage of consumer trust and due diligence, while helping to annihilate accountability from the online shopping experience.
Savvy internet users have traditionally traded a positive endorsements, for say, acquiring a golf club at no cost. The unwritten rule dictates that the individual in exchange for the free demo, utilizes as many digital resources as possible to promote the product. To combat felonious reviews, Amazon and other shopping portals initially allowed only the product buyers to post performance commentary, however the game has quickly changed. Allegedly, because user ratings are worth more than certain products, troll account holders on the largest virtual store in the universe are purchasing cheap inventory and entering different delivery names and addresses, which allows for multiple reviews to be posted, and the lucrative compensation to flow. Thanks to this chaotic realty, consumer testimonials are becoming worthless to the average customer, and random folks are receiving unexpected gifts in the form of suspicious deliveries. The trickle down end game of the blatant troll pivot into the vortex of legitimate commerce, has eliminated credibility from the product evaluation process, and consumers are left to gamble in a fifty-fifty coin flip when making a purchase down the incredulous worm hole infected by the rogue elements of the insufferable digital lunatics.
To nullify the detrimental effects of false reviews and the convoluted traffic jams of similar products snarled in relative obscurity, businesses are raising the price point to gain consumer confidence by the simple illusion of valuation. However, as the majority of goods receive a mid-level sticker value, the customer is again faced with the conundrum of blindly selecting a random option, or simply buying at the high-end, and bypassing the cutthroat nature of the current digital shopping drama. While, the abundant and renowned convenience of the Amazon experience softens the domestic troll blow, reasonable individuals are left to wallow in the riddle of the specialized golf club listed under the brand name of “Prestwick” and selling for $100 with rave reviews, is either a good bargain, or a Chinese knockoff fresh off the floor from a reverse engineering plant on the outskirts of Xian or possibly outer Mongolia. The world becomes less of a thrilling destination for eternal hope and optimism, when upon striking the ball in the fairway, the club head is instantly severed and outdistances the entire group. Of course, the trolls luxuriate and roll in a living room steppe of cash, as the video evidence of the golf course mishap and the performance of the 5-star inferior product is broadcast throughout the entire underbelly of the community.
Next up on the trolling agenda, online bot pets and their human handlers, and the 2020 election.
Read the BBC News story here.