There is virtually nothing innocuous about trolling. This is especially true when the trolls aim to disrupt, create strawmen, or otherwise foster division. While the forthcoming material will be focused on LGBTQ+ discussions, what will be covered has much broader applicability. The term ‘trolling’ has become rather normalized, despite the damage that trolling achieves over time. If trolling wasn’t effective, certain people would not spend so much time engaging in this behavior. Trolls clearly perceive that they are accomplishing some objective via such tactics.
Within LGBTQ+ discussions, there are trolls on social media who will jump into either side of the issue to create or amplify incendiary content. Sometimes such trolls will pretend to be members of the LGBTQ+ community solely to plant strawmen narratives that misrepresent the beliefs or positions of actual members of the community. Sometimes those strawmen narratives are very fringe positions that the trolls seek to misrepresent as very popular. More committed trolls can then use paid amplification services, some that only cost a penny per follower, to make the account and the content appear more popular than it really is.
With sufficient frequency and volume, these narratives can begin to disrupt the dialogue and even derail progress. Trolls posing as members of the LGBTQ+ community can jump into either side of the discussion to sow division. On occasion such trolls can even jump into one side of the dialogue to disrupt, then delete all those posts and jump into the other side of the discussion to disrupt from that angle. Some such trolls have no fixed position on the actual matter, their only goal is to insert themselves into the discussion to disrupt and/or divide. This is true with any potential wedge issue. Any issue in which there are differences of opinion can be manipulated in this manner. And it is human nature for people to have differing opinions.
Another issue with anonymous trolls is that once they are discovered, they can simply delete their accounts and start again with a new account. For nearly as long as the internet has existed, there have been internet trolls. I doubt there will be a lasting solution to this problem any time soon. This is why I believe it is important to discuss the tactics and techniques used by such trolls and then learn from it.
With all that being said, I’m going to present some evidence about a particular account for your review. Other than perhaps pointing out a few particulars of the evidence and providing content, I will just let the evidence speak for itself. It is ultimately up to the individual reader to decide whether this account is behaving in a genuine manner or whether the account operator is trolling.
Yesterday, @Manaxium posted this tweet, which has since received a significant amount of attention.
The operator has the following description in the account’s bio:
I do not identify as a woman, I identify WITH women. #IStandWithJKRowling cashapp: $sophiemg44
For more clarity, this operator tweeted that “I have chosen to live my life as a transwoman aka a gender nonconforming male who has medically transitioned.” Furthermore, the operator made sure to include commentary that put the previous statement in a “mental health” framework.
Just yesterday, they published other inflammatory tweets, like the one below.
The operator also tweeted this very obvious strawman about the Trans community.
Considering the below tweet, wherein the user claims without evidence that Trans women are pretending to be cis women on Twitter, I do think it is fair and reasonable to ask if the opposite could be true in this case. But I would be hesitant to assume that a cis woman is operating this account. If (emphasis on “if”) the operator were not who they claim to be, absent definitive evidence of the operator’s true identity, it would be unwise to take any content they have published on Twitter as definitive evidence of their true identity. Anyone can lie on the internet.
The first detail I noticed that struck me as odd was that all of the tweets that @Manaxium published prior to May 13, 2020 had been deleted. For example, the reply to this operator that is displayed below captures that there had been a tweet from @Manaxium but it has since been deleted. These search results reflect that this was the case for the remainder of the account’s prior history.
On May 30, the operator also made it clear that they had “only been at this twitter thing a few days.”
This account was created in March 2009. so I decided to refer to the Wayback Machine to see whether any of the previous posts by this account had been captured there. Those archives had 971 total captures from this account, dating back to October 2019. As the above reply to @Manaxium in February 2020 suggests, this account had been a big supporter of Wonho, a K-Pop star who was previously a member of Monsta X.
Unlike what is currently written in this account’s bio, there was nothing at all written before. Moreover, I reviewed archive record after archive record from 2019, and just as the username suggests, the account was almost single-mindedly posting about Wonho and #Monbebe, which is the official fandom name for Monsta X supporters.
Notably, after deleting all that past history about #Monbebe, the account doesn’t seem to care much about that topic anymore. The operator now relentlessly posts about LGBTQ+ matters, Trans matters in particular. Yet this Monsta X topic was so important at the time that these accounts strategized about how to post hashtags on the topic from multiple accounts.
More interestingly, it turns out that this was not the first time that @Manaxium had wiped the account and switched activities.
Just as importantly, this tweet referred to the operator of the account as a “sister.” This was not the only such reference.
During this Wonho period, the operator didn’t focus on the LGBTQ+ community like what we see with that account today. They were focused almost exclusively on that K-Pop band. This very noticeable switching of topics is worth carefully considering, especially considering the claims the operator makes about their identity now, while stating, “I AM the American Trans community.”
The operator also had issues with Twitter restricting or locking the account. This occurred in May 2020, shortly after this account got involved with Trans discussions. This also occurred in November 2019, shortly after the account got involved with #Monbebe.
While I could cover the account’s activity before October 2019 when the handle and username were entirely different, there’s not much to really cover there. There’s only one archive entry and not much else to discuss. Prior to Wonho, the account didn’t do much at all.
I leave it up to the reader to interpret this information as they see fit. Regardless of this particular account, the issue of trolling on LGBTQ+ issues continues to recur and I don’t believe it should be taken lightly. It impacts the dialogue and is meant to do so. Moreover, Trans women’s voices are still being stolen by impostors and that is harmful to the community in a variety of ways.