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FB T.rolls

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As Australia receives home our 17th casualty in the fight against terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Facebook tribute page set up to honour, Private Nathan Bewes is the latest tribute page to be desecrated by serial pests, known as ‘trolls’.  The trolls post obnoxious and quite frankly rude and disgusting comments on a site which is meant to be a place for family, friends and a grateful nation to express their sympathy to a man who gave his life in the pursuit of freedom so that we can have, amongst other things, the right to freedom of speech.

I heard on the Michael Smith afternoon show today on 4BC Radio here in Brisbane, that a tribute page set up to honour Private Bewes had been attacked by trolls on the day that Private Bewes’ body arrived back in Brisbane. Private Bewes died last week in Afghanistan after being killed by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) while on patrol.

Here is an example of the disrespect on the wall of the tribute page

….and it continues with more idiocy which I won’t show here.

So as you can see, some lowlife scum, has set up a fake Nathan Bewes profile and pretended to be him, even using a photo of Private Bewes and his girlfriend.  How low can someone go?  The idiot on the other end of that keyboard has absolutely no respect for the hardship and sorrow, Private Bewes’ family and friends would be going through right now.  They would be on Facebook gathering strength from all of the positive messages from people right around this great country, to then come across this sort of garbage, well to me is just heartbreaking.

It’s not just one or two idiots who troll these sites.  On the very same tribute page for Private Bewes there are these two fools who continue the attacks.

If you click on the profile of Khoul Storibro – which is meant to sound like, Cool Story Bro, I assume – you will see that this idiot has over 200 friends and his information page has his employers listed as ‘Trolling Industries, Inc’. So for this guy, trolling has become a hobby.  In his ‘Likes and Interests’ info he is also a member of ‘RIP Jade Goody’ and “RIP Cheryl Tweedy’ and who knows what sort of messages he has left on those tribute pages.

There is something seriously wrong with these idiots.  I would like to see their reaction if someone close to them died and a Facebook tribute page was set up and see how they like the comments being sent their way.  They wouldn’t like it one bit.  But then again, people who are affected by death usually have feelings and emotions and compassion. Something these idiots clearly lack so perhaps they wouldn’t care.

In February this year, a school boy, Elliott Fletcher, 12, was murdered at his school at St Patricks in northern Brisbane and a tribute page was set up on Facebook.  Earlier that month, 8 year old Trinity Bates was murdered in Bundaberg and also had a Facebook tribute page set up in her honour.

However, within hours, the trolling had begun on both pages and what was meant to be a celebration of life for two very young children, tragically taken too soon, was embroiled in controversy as the trolls started to leave disturbing messages and in the case of Elliott Fletcher, links to child pornography.  Thankfully, the sick bastard who posted the child pornography was tracked down and arrested and hopefully will have the book thrown at him.

This leaves us with a conundrum.  Private Bewes and all of the other diggers who have fought and died and those who are still there or were there fighting for our freedom were fighting for our way of life and one aspect of that way of life is our right to the freedom of speech.  I am able to write this post today without fear of censorship or discrimination by our government.  Do we have a right to expect the administrators of Facebook to delete such trolling?  Do we expect the government to pass laws to outlaw such insensitivity on what are obviously tribute pages?

The people who set up these tribute pages do have the right to delete any comments which they do not want to show on the page, but for some of the pages where the death of the person being immortalised, the comments can be in their hundreds and during this difficult time of grieving, well should the administrator of the page even have to moderate?  Surely they should be able to set up the tribute page in good faith and not have the trolls attack it.

The trolls seem to thrive on the feedback they get from people who go to the site to leave genuine messages.  People hurl abusive attacks back at the trolls calling them insensitive and cowardly, and of course, they are exactly that.  But it is like a drug for them and they keep on trolling and feeding off the high the come backs are giving them.  And I am guilty of contributing towards it.  Just today, I challenged one of the trolls to make contact with me so we could arrange a time to meet so that I could teach him some respect.  Of course this idiot will never meet me, or anyone else for that matter, because they are safe and secure in front of their computer in an anonymous world.

So what is the best course of action?  Ignore them.  The more I think about it, the more I am convinced this is the only way.  We cannot expect our government to alter the freedom of speech rules.  The trolls statements are mostly idiotic and not hateful so there is not really a lot the government can do.  The administrators of the tribute pages can report the trolls and once blocked they cannot leave any more messages on the particular tribute site.  They will continue however to troll other tribute sites and continue their idiotic campaign.

If you are reading through tribute pages and you come across a troll, you can report them to Facebook by clicking on their profile and reporting them.

I think it is the only way but I fear we have just seen the tip of the iceberg.

It’s a sad time that I even have to write about this.  Can’t the days of decency and respect to others please return?  It’s at times like this that I am utterly guttered that this is likely done by an Australian.  We aren’t like that.  We don’t do this to our mates, whether we know them or not.  It’s un-Australian.

What do you think can be done to stop the trolling?  Is it the government’s role or Facebook or the community as a whole?  Keen to hear your thoughts.

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  1. GGG says:

    That makes me want to hurl. What the hell is wrong with people? I’ll never understand that sort of mentality.

  2. Heather says:

    I will never understand it, but then again, I’m not supposed to!

    Somehow I’d overlooked the “block/report” before…thanks for highlighting that! Won’t be afraid to use it.

    • jackmcclane says:

      No probs Heather. Unless there is a change in the rules, I doubt there will be much that can be done.

      We can block these guys as much as we like, but they will just set up new accounts and keep on going.


  3. boo hoo says:

    lol – stupid meathead goes off to fight for american imperialism in an illegal immoral war of aggression based on lies.
    bad enough my taxes pay for this shit – no sympathy from me.

  4. LulzGirly6y says:

    Mr McClane,

    Your emotions and remarks re the behaviour of trolls on facebook appears pretty standard among most.
    However your argument appears flawed.
    The internet is not a place to put your heart unless you want it stood on.
    Why do people post intensley emotional and private information about themselves and then become upset when it becomes troll fodder?
    An open RIP page means its open to all and sundry, so why cry when you don’t like what you read. Make a closed group , its not that hard.
    If people want to honour their loved ones they probably should do it privately and with dignity.

    • jackmcclane says:


      Thanks for your comment. Please answer me this. Why do the trolls feel the need to have to make their stupid comments in the first place?

      These tribute sites allow ordinary Australian’s who did not even know brave soldiers like Mr Bewes, the opportunity to express their gratitude to the family of a man who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I am sure his family and friends would draw strength from the many messages of support, and while it will never bring him back, perhaps it will help with their grieving.

      I set up a page for a relative of mine who was seriously injured and the hundreds of messages of support that he received assisted in his recovery. It remained troll free.

      Are you a troll yourself, LulzGirly6y? If so, why do you do it? If not, why defend them?

  5. Marc Dunn says:

    Hi Jack

    A lot of trolls are doing this to get a reaction, you writing a whole blog about this in essence means that the trolls win (Because they got attention).

    This raises two questions:
    1) Do you know a lot about trolls?
    2) If so, why did you just feed them with your blog?

    Now, saying that the middle east is a direct threat to our way of life is, if anything, an ignorant thing to say. There is a fair bit of doubt (rightfully so) to who in fact did 9/11.

    So explain to me this – how is an innocent country that we invaded a threat to our way of life?

    • jackmcclane says:

      Hi Marc

      I know that the trolls are doing it for the reaction they get. What a pitiful existence if that is the case.

      In response to your questions.

      1. All I know about trolls is that they hide behind their computers and don’t care about anyone bar themselves. From the small amount of research I have done, they appear to be made up profiles as they are too gutless to put their real name to their trolling. They feed of the responses from the people who are visiting the tribute sites for the right reasons.

      2. The blog was written in an effort to educate people that these people exist and to see what can be done about them. As I said in the post, falling short of changing existing freedom of speech laws, I don’t think there is much that can be done other than to ignore them on the relevant pages, and hopefully the moderators of the pages can block them anyway – which they shouldn’t have to do in the first place.

      As to your final comment re the middle east, this argument isn’t about that. That is government policy and that is not up for debate here. Private Bewes was following orders. This argument is about disrespectful trolls and the issue of what they are doing to tribute sites.

      I thank you for your contribution.

  6. LulzGirly6y says:

    Mr McCane I am happy to give you my opinion on the questions that you ask.
    “..why do the trolls need to make their stupid comments in the first place?”
    Well, personally they may have their own reasons for trolling but for most it is just to have a laugh at peoples irrational reactions to their comments.
    Most Trolls believe that the internet is a platform for free speech and thus take the opportuinty to do exactly that.
    The real world is serious business, the internet is not.

    As for the Mr Brewers assessment, it all could have been avoided if the admins had created a closed page that you could ask to join.
    You say, ordinary Australians want to express gratitude, let them ask to join the group. Easy really.

    As for your relative, sorry to say, he probably wasn’t that interesting for the trolls.

    And as for me, well that would be telling secrets and if I did that …the consequences will never be the same.

    • jackmcclane says:


      But by setting up a private profile and requesting to join it, the administrator would probably approve a troll profile if it looked legit – as some of them do – and the idiotic posts would happen anyway. Remember, that strangers ‘like’ these pages so they can pay their respects as well, not just family and friends.

      I hear what you are saying that the real world is serious business and the internet is not. Fine. Choose a non tribute page to have some fun or have a go at one another, but to desecrate a tribute page to people who have died, whether they are soldiers or killed in car accidents or from cancer, it is irrational and incomprehensible.

      Re my relative – I don’t think that is the reason. There was little publicity to do with his accident so therefore limited public knowledge – the trolls probably just didn’t find the page.

      So are you alluding to a secret code within the troll ranks – admit to being one and you will be trolled upon yourself or something like that huh? Well please answer me this? As I mentioned in the post, what if a tribute page for a friend or family member of a troll was set up, how would that troll feel about some of the comments commonly seen on other tribute sites? I hope for their sake it never comes to that.

  7. Gottfried Leibniz says:

    I admire the fact that you’re man enough to point out that these trolls have dun goofed. These lying, no good punks will eventually have to learn that the consequences will never be the same and I know who it’s coming from. I’m gonna tell you right now, I’ve backtraced them and reported them to the cyber police and the state police. They will be caught and they will be found and they will have to deal with the police.

  8. Annie Hiro says:

    Quite frankly, I believe you’re overreacting. In my personal belief, a memorial shouldn’t be publically broadcasted online and free for anyone to join. Allowing, literally, thousands of people that the deceased doesn’t know to “remember his sacrifice” kind of negates the point of remembering the deceased as a legitimate person.

    Posts like “I nevr new u, and I dont evn live on the same continent, but ur a good prson and I will remmber you 4evr.”

    Do you honestly believe that posts like that are genuine? And that is what the vast majority of the well wishers are, people who would sit on the sidelines to watch a train wreck just to have something to talk about over dinner.

    If you’re going to make a memorial about somebody, please make it privatized. I’ve seen R.I.P pages with, literally, hundreds of thousands of people. And I sincerely doubt that 11 year old boy knew that many people and had that many memories with them.

  9. Peter P. Stone says:

    Mr. McClane,

    LulzGurly6y made some good points that I’d like to add to. The motives behind trolling vary among individuals. Some, as it’s been pointed out, do it for laughs, but others do it to make a statement.

    One, don’t parade your personal information all over the internet expecting people to care. If you want to connect with family and friends, do so privately or IRL. The comments by many trolls are a backlash to what many see as an intrusion of social networking in all areas of the internet. Facebook is an easy and obvious target as one of the leading pages in this shift of internet culture.

    Two, if something tragic has happened to you, don’t expect genuine sympathy. People post these stories online expecting swarms of people to report in with their prayers and condolences. The truth of the matter is, most of these comments are not sincere. Many trolls feel the need to counter this false sincerity with truth. Most people don’t care about your problems. Most of those that say they do, don’t. I think a lot of trolls just want a bit of honesty projected into the situation.

    Three, many trolls value ideology over individuality. A lot of tribute pages reek of attention seeking. “Look at me! Look at what struggles I’ve been going through! Give me attention! Pretend my dead relative was actually a good person that you cared about!” Trolls reject the idea that individuals have special, intrinsic value. You will often see trolls leave this comment on tribute pages: “And nothing of value was lost.” While some see this as an attempt to get a rise out of others, it actually speaks of a deeper philosophical outlook on society as a whole.

    Just some thoughts.

    • jackmcclane says:

      Thanks for your input Peter and Annie, but I’m sorry, I just can’t agree. I won’t go over old ground as I have said enough in my responses above and in my post.

      I appreciate your input and right to free speech and therefore that is why I am approving your comments.


  10. Sally says:

    I would just like to say a big congrats to this blog.. i personally know that the family did not set up the page and did not seek any attention. In fact they have been one of the quietest about it. It was a friend. And to all those haters out there… dont blame the soldier doing his/her job risking his/her life so that we may stay safe here in our homes walking without fear, its the governments decision to send them there, and if only you knew the good that they are actually achieving to help that country get back on its feet then you wouldn’t be so quick to judge. Seriously if people have complaints then you try and do their job. Try working 24/7 in a shithole teaching and rebuilding a war ravaged population for 8 months at a time, risking your own life every single day for the ones you love back home. Just give these people some respect. Imagine it was your own family and you never got to see them ever again.If people genuinely dont like whats happening, there is still no need to be so disrespectful and disgusting on public sites. Get a life!

  11. Hi Sally and thanks for your comment. I honour all of our diggers who fight for our freedoms and will continue to do so.

    Ignoring the trolls is the only way.

    Take care.

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