To troll or not to troll?

Report by Alan Evans and Iwan Lewis

IT was National News headlines as JD Wetherspoon announced it was to shut down all it’s social media accounts throughout its chain of 900 pubs across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

It may be a decision that a lot of people would like to make on behalf of their children, but a big business shutting down its social media is a relatively bold move.

Before the texts had pinged people had begun speculating as to why the chain would do such a thing. The reason we were told was that the company was unhappy with the trolling of MP’s on social media as well as those from religious or ethnic minorities and taking account of recent concerns regarding the misuse of personal data and the addictive nature of social media.

While some people might have sympathy with the MP’s one has to question why the social media gurus have not sorted this trolling lark out by now. No one likes a troll except other trolls. Online trolls have been defined as: ‘Similar to the playground bullies you would have encountered at school. They deliberately provoke arguments and fights on social media and forums, often by saying the most grossly insensitive and offensive things. They can come across as perfectly normal and polite when met “in real life”; but when protected by the anonymity of the Internet, they can be incredibly aggressive. Often they will make sexist, racist or homophobic jokes to stir up an argument. Sometimes they will target specific people, making unfounded (and untrue) accusations. Others will seek to humiliate their victims, tricking them into sharing sensitive personal information that they will then publish publicly online.’

It can be an awful thing when random idiots with the brain the size of an Iceland frozen pea start commenting about you or your business, your religion or your family. There is very little one can do but report it, hope it is removed or at best get the police involved who in turn would only have the powers to ask the idiots to remove it in the first place.

JD Wetherspoon is no stranger to the trolls but also to the people who may genuinely have had compliments or complaints about the company regarding the quality of its service.

Some took to social media immediately to poke fun of the company. Others were left asking if it was all just a publicity stunt. The timing was also questioned given that Facebook have been placed under the microscope regarding the sharing of personal data of millions of people.

Llanelli Online went directly to the horse’s mouth and JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business.

“ I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever, and this is the overwhelming view of our pub managers.

“It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion.

“ We will still be as vocal as ever through our Wetherspoon News magazine, as well as keeping the press updated at all times.

“We will also be maintaining our website and the Wetherspoon app and encourage customers to get in touch with us via our website or by speaking with the manager at their local pub.”

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