Brendan O’Neil ponders:
“Consider how the term “trolling” itself has been expanded in recent years. It is now used not only to describe weirdos like Frank Zimmerman, who was given a two-year suspended prison sentence for sending vile and threatening messages to Conservative MP Louise Mensch, but also journalists and bloggers who express political views that don’t conform to mainstream thinking, which rile the Twitterati.
Everyone from the loner with violent fantasies to the hack who does some far-out political thinking is now labelled a “troll”, a scourge on the internet which must be cleansed by respectable, right-thinking journalists “above the line”. A divide is being created between the plebs below the line, who think and say the “wrong” things, and the righteous guardians of internet culture above the line, who now frequently make an ostentatious display of their right-on credentials in order to distinguish themselves from the politically uncouth, keyboard-smashing hordes.
One is forced to ask: who is really being intolerant here?”