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 Isobelle Clark, Lancaster University

Inauthentic identities: Comparing trolling tweets to general tweets

In this talk, I will present the results of a systematic comparison of trolling tweets to general tweets along the major dimensions of linguistic variation of general Twitter. The results of the analysis show that trolling tweets and general tweets are remarkably more similar than they are different in terms of the major dimensions of linguistic variation and also in their distribution along general Twitter’s dimensions of linguistic variation. These findings problematise the notion that trolling can be detected automatically in this way, and simultaneously inform the theory that trolling is a deceptive practice, as trolls may be assimilating to the major linguistic repertoires of general tweets to appear genuine and provoke a response. Additionally, the results inform the theory that trolls are hijacking and mocking the spectacle in a process of détournement. I will ironically conclude provocatively arguing that trolling is merely the symptom of a larger disease - the spectacle.

 







Centre for Forensic Linguistics, Aston University, Birmingham, UK, 2018