Word of the week: Moscow’s Internet Research Agency paid ‘trolls’ to express pro-Putin and pro-Trump views – but why do we call them that?
The latest in the story of Russian meddling in last year’s US election is that the Russians ran a “troll factory”, which is not a manufacturing centre gearing up to produce heartwarmingly ugly dolls for children’s Christmas presents. Instead the troll factory, at Moscow’s Internet Research Agency, paid young people to create fake online identities expressing pro-Putin and pro-Trump opinions.
Trolling is a method of fishing, the “troll” being the lure, and so from the 1990s online “trolls” were people who antagonised others in the hope of getting an angry reaction. This usage is possibly also influenced, the OED notes, by the troll in Scandinavian mythology, a small creature that lives underground, in its parents’ basement for example.
Link : What’s the difference between a troll and a sockpuppet?