How to identify a Facebook troll

A consequence of fighting online hate is that our Facebook page is often attacked by trolls. Some are looking to waste our time by flooding our page with irrelevant content. Others post unnecessarily incendiary content on our Facebook page with the aim of derailing a fruitful conversation. More often than not, the accounts are fake. 

We usually identify a fake Facebook account by looking at the activity level of the user.

  • How old is the profile? Usually fake Facebook profiles are recent.
  • Does it use an identifiable image? Usually fake Facebook profiles have very generic images that make it hard to identify people.
  • How many friends does the fake Facebook profile have?
  • What are the other pages have he/she liked? Usually, profiles attacking OHPI would have liked neo-Nazi and far-right groups.
  • Other than leaving comments on your page, what are the other activities of the Facebook user? Usually, the activity level would be very low given that it is a fake account.

If based on the above questions, we have reasonable grounds for believing that the person is a troll, we block the Facebook user from our page.

Even if the Facebook user is real, but is heavily involved in Far Right and neo-Nazi pages – likes and actively supports their causes – we block them from our page because we don’t see them playing a constructive role in building our mandate. Given our limited time, energy and resources we prefer to work with people we have a reasonable chance of having a constructive conversation with.