Internet trolls cause Parish Council to tread carefully

In his Christmas message to parishioners Cllr Hood said the Community Governance Review had encouraged the parish towards the use of Social Media. But the parish is unlikely to rush into setting up a Facebook page or Twitter presence just yet. Trolls are about.

internet troll 101

While the Parish Council has already set up a working group to explore Social Media, and will send five councillors on a paid course to learn what it is, don’t expect to see the parish on Facebook any time soon.

Cllr Hood devoted a large part of his Christmas message warning of the dangers of internet “trolls” who could undermine the Parish Council’s message.

He said:

The media can be used in anti-social ways.  Contributors can if inclined, deliberately circulate false information or embark on personal attacks, sometimes doing this as an anonymous troll (living anywhere in the world with internet access), if not controlled this can even become internet bullying.

“Trolls” have had a high profile in the wider media in recent months.

In August, Hannah Smith, 14 was found dead after being the target of anonymous trolls on the internet site Ask.FM.  And later the same month Michael Morton, 18, used his Facebook page to mock the tragic murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

The fear of trolling as an excuse for not engaging online will only remind those of Hood’s reprimand in 2011 for using postings on Colnbrook Views and personal emails to harass the fledgling CCA and its trustees.

He eventually withdrew himself from the online debate in 2012 and has remained “offline” since.

The parish has already discussed plans for another new website and is even considering rolling TV screens to better publicise its work.

In the mean time parishioners are encouraged to go and talk to a councillor:

… if you want closer engagement with the Council please come and chat with us …

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