Michiganders really are trolls: 13% of internet users in the state confess to abusive online behavior – called trolling – in recent survey

Michiganders really are trolls: 13% of internet users in the state confess to abusive online behavior – called trolling – in recent survey
Photo credit Tero Vesalainen/Getty

(WWJ) - A recent survey revealed 13% of Michiganders admitted to sending or sharing obscenities, insults and inflammatory or undesirable posts to other users on social media.

Just under 4,000 social media users from across the nation participated in a survey by redact.dev, a software program that searches for unsavory social media posts in a user's history and removes them.

The abusive online behavior, known as internet trolling, was reported by 13% of social media users from Michigan when asked if they've sent, shared or tagged others in offensive or contentious posts compared to the national average of 17%.

Delaware recorded the lowest amount of cyber bullying, with 5% of online user admitting to the behavior. In comparison, social media users from West Virginia were the worst offenders, with 27% of online users owning up to online trolling.

Trolling is internet slang for users who seek attention by purposely bullying others for laughs or for more hurtful reasons. Rude comments, inflammatory posts and sharing negative content is commonplace across all social media platforms, with experts explaining that the anonymity of the internet make this behavior very easy for people to fall into.

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“Trolling is, essentially, one of the main downsides of social media,” says a spokesperson for Redact.dev.

“We should all have the ability to express ourselves however we see fit, but there are always going to be people who don’t agree with us, or who go out of their way to be negative about someone else’s views, or content."

Trolls not only harass users, but victims say they are threatened with doxxing, or the publishing of personal information online for others to see.

More than a quarter of Americans have been victims of internet trolling. The behavior is known to cause severe negative affects which almost half of users (48%) believing that online trolling should be punished under federal law. Across most social media platforms, trolls can be banned for their behaviors, a move that is supported by 71% of internet users.

Trolling is reported to be a common occurrence, with one in four users admitting they have themselves or they know someone who made fake online profiles to participate in trolling.

Perhaps more promising, 73% of internet users in the survey said they would immediately report someone if they know they were an internet troll.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Tero Vesalainen/Getty