Friday, March 25, 2011

RIP Trolls for Fun and Profit

"R.I.P. trolls" on Facebook are the unusually mean-spirited people who get a kick out of posting upsetting comments and images on memorial pages.  They tend to get mass-reported and shut down pretty quickly, but usually reappear quickly with new accounts.  One of the worst, an Australian named Bradley Paul Hampson, was recently sentenced to jail time for posting sexually explicit photos and comments on Facebook pages memorializing dead children.  Below is an excerpt from the SMH story:
A man who vandalised Facebook tribute sites for two dead children has been jailed.
Self-confessed "troll" Bradley Paul Hampson, 29, of Tarragindi in Brisbane's south, posted pictures of penises and wrote offensive messages on the two sites in February last year.
On one Facebook tribute site for the 12-year-old boy, he wrote "woot I'm dead" across an image of the dead child.
He also morphed a photo of the boy's face inside a woodchipper and made it appear blood was coming from the machine.
On another, he wrote sexually explicit comments implying he was responsible for raping and killing the eight-year-old girl.
"My definition of pleasure ... listening to her ribs crack," he wrote. "I got mad ... so I murdered her."
 In the U.S., there are a group of real-life R.I.P. trolls known as the Westboro Baptist Church.  Instead of posting foul things on memorial pages, they show up at funerals and picket.  Judging by the results that come back when you search Facebook for "Westboro Baptist", they're also widely hated.  However, some people have suggested that Westboro Baptist Church may be a scam organization that provokes people and then uses lawsuits to generate revenue.  Since they call themselves a "church," they may also be able to avoid paying taxes.

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