Trolls: An Unnatural History

Richard Seymour writes:

Trolls are the self-styled pranksters of the internet, a subculture of wind-up merchants who will say anything they can to provoke unwary victims, then delight in the outrage that follows. When Mitchell Henderson, a 12-year-old boy from Minnesota, killed himself in 2006, trolls descended on his MySpace page, where his friends and relatives were posting tributes. The trolls were especially taken with the fact that Henderson had lost his iPod days before his death. They posted messages implying that his suicide was a frivolous response to consumerist frustration: ‘first-world problems’. One post contained an image of the boy’s gravestone with an iPod resting against it.

(LRB 15 December 2016)