Trolling and Flooding Today

The First Amendment has allowed individuals throughout the United States to speak their mind and have their voice be heard. Yet, over the years there’s been manipulation through this. The easy accessibility to the internet has created a platform for people to use techniques of trolling and flooding to influence the way we view different topics. First, a troll on the internet is someone who basically responds/comments to something in a confrontational way in order to upset others or get an emotional response. In “Is The First Amendment Obsolete” by Tim Wu, he describes trolling as a technique that will “seek to humiliate,harass, discourage, and even destroy targeted speakers using personal threats, embarrassment, and ruining of their reputations”.

A great example of this today is Wendy’s fast food restaurant trolling other fast food places. Fast food restaurants love to take shots at each other through social media(especially twitter) and this was just another example. Wendys is know for trolling other resturaunts, and Burger King called them out for it. Burger King posted a picture on twitter of the King(mascot) standing outside of a Wendys with a sign saying “Don’t burn people just because you can’t flame-grill”.

Wendy’s responded by saying “Honestly expected better, but you’re probably pretty use to hearing that”.

For more on Wendys vs BK:

Secondly, Wu describes the technique of “flooding” as mainly focused on “winning the war for attention” and that they’ll be able to produce enough information to “drown out the disfavored speech”. By doing this, the main goal of the strategy is to “distract the public and change the subject”. President Trump displays a prime example of this through his own social media activity during the presidential election. Trump’s twitter became a central part of his campaign as not only did he “flood” information about himself/campaign but also negative outlooks on his opponents. By doing this he was able to take the attention away from his opponents speech’s and become more of the center piece within the election.

Lastly, I do believe there should be some limitations or legal framework set in place against the use of trolling/flooding. We’re at a time in society where social media has an incredible impact on our daily lives and how we shape our own reality. With the creation of fake news or misinformation, it could cause mass confusion and isn’t beneficial towards people today.

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