Feeds

Eggheads crack open web troll brains

Big headache discovered for smeared biz bosses

Top three mobile application threats

People who fire off abuse online tend to be keyboard warriors who lack self-control and are fuelled by vengefulness while protected by cloaks of anonymity. And they're going to cost businesses a ton of cash as they struggle to defend their reputations.

This is according to a frankly shocking study published in the current issue of the Computers in Human Behavior journal.

Online smearers also tested strongly positive for impulsiveness, academics at the Florida Institute of Technology concluded in their study. Their paper, Rash impulsivity, vengefulness, virtual-self and amplification of ethical relativism on cyber-smearing against corporations, focused on flames and smears against corporations, rather than trolling individuals.

Researcher Michael Workman gave personality tests to 193 largely college-educated "social media literate professionals" from across the US and Europe, and then asked them for their online aliases, tracking them through chatrooms and forum boards and noting down any trolling or similar activities (on condition of keeping their information private).

Workman also looked at whinger website ihatethiscompany.com and the defunct fuckedcompany.com.

The main outcome was that of the four traits they tested for, the strongest correlation with cyber-smearing was a belief that ethics are relative and that there is no objective right and wrong:

When people hold a view of ethical relativism, the statistically significant interaction does suggest greater cyber-smearing. Impulsivity and vengefulness were associated with cyber-smearing in our study, and also this behavior was amplified by ethical relativism.

troll_brain3

El Reg's trolls are an exception: they're not vengeful,
they're just generating page hits debate.

Workman also noted that "when people who lack self-control and have tendencies to seek revenge especially when shrouded in anonymity" they tend to reach for the caps lock key and engage defamation mode.

Also bears defecate in the woods, but there are serious bucks to be made in this business: Workman highlighted the lucrative industry that has grown up around corporate reputation management.

The success of these interventions has depended on the motives of the perpetrator, thus knowing the underlying factors for cyber-smearing is extremely important to knowing which action to take. Ultimately, organizations in the future will increasingly have face misinformation disseminated by people who are rash or vindictive, and the public will have to become better at discerning these opinions and rhetoric from facts and descriptions.

Rash impulsivity, vengefulness, virtual-self and amplification of ethical relativism on cyber-smearing against corporations is available from ScienceDirect. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.