If you spend any amount of time online (and we know you do because you are reading this article), you are undoubtedly familiar with Internet “trolls.” These are the people who, empowered by the anonymity of the Internet, seemingly only enjoy life when they are making someone else’s life miserable.
Trolls usually operate by reacting to an online opinion post or comment of someone by deliberately posting offensive or inflammatory replies. The goal is to push the buttons of the other person, and the troll gleefully watches as their target becomes upset. In extreme cases, trolling gradually evolves into something worse: cyberbullying, which often involves severe harassment, and even threats of death or serious bodily injury against the other person or their family.
In the United Kingdom, Parliament has decided to take a stand against Internet trolls. A new law has been proposed to amend the 1988 Malicious Communications Act. At the time it was passed, the Malicious Communication Act created a six-month sentence for persons who intentionally send indecent or grossly offensive messages and threats. 1 The law, passed before the age of social media and online comment sections, will be updated to include messages sent through electronic means, and will increase the maximum jail time to two years.