Celebrities back charity’s ‘Don’t Feed the Trolls’ campaign

TV presenters such as Gary Lineker and Rachel Riley, as well as politicians such as London Mayor Sadiq Khan back the Centre for Countering Digital Hate’s report on effectively tackling online trolling.

Joe Lepper | 16th Sep 19

Celebrities including the TV presenters Gary Lineker and Rachel Riley have backed a charity initiative not to feed online trolls.

A group of 13 celebrities, politicians and charity workers are publicly endorsing the campaign by Centre for Countering Digital Hate, which has produced a report called Don’t Feed the Trolls: How to Deal with Hate on Social Media.

This offers a practical guide for people, particular public figures, on dealing with hateful online comments.

This points out that online trolls enjoy hurting people and want their comments to be widely shared.

> See also: Should charities be doing more to stop online bullying?

Instead their targets should use social media tools such as blocking and reporting rather than inadvertently giving what trolls want – further publicity and to revel in the pain they are causing.


Racial abuse online

Gary Lineker, former England football striker and host of BBC’s Match of the Day, urges people not to “rise to the bait; block the trolls and take some time out” and is particularly concerned by the prevalence of racist abuse online.

He added: “We’ve all been shocked by the way in which racist trolls have been targeting footballers recently. It is frankly horrifying that they have sone so in a calculated way to spread their abhorrent views.”

Rachel Riley, who presents on Countdown and its comedy version 8 out of 10 cats, said: “I now block trolls as common practice and have changed my settings to avoid seeing much of their output, which has made life much better from a mental health standpoint and vitally, is not inadvertently helping to grow their audiences or feeding their negativity.”

Others backing the campaign include TV presenter Richard Osman, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, former Minister for Digital, Margot James, and the comedian Eddie Izzard.

Nimco Ali, Chief Executive of The Five Foundation, the global partnership to end FGM, is another supporting the charity’s report to tackle online trolls.


Political backing

Former Health Secretary Alan Johnson, TV presenter Nick Hewer, Lib Dem Lord Jonny Oates, Jo Cox Foundtion Ambassador Kim Leadbetter, the comedian Aisling Bea and mental health campaigner Natasha Devon are also supporting the charity.

> See also: #CharitySoWhite exposes the real, and shocking, stories of racial inequality in the charity sector

All have supplied images and quotes to support the charity via its website.

The report states: “When a troll targets you for abuse, block them immediately; this will ensure that they cannot tweet at you ever again, and removes mentions of them from your notifications.

“It is remarkable how few people you actually have to block to stop a troll storm in its tracks. Furthermore, it will stop their small networks from being able to target you again in future.”