Teeside University Current Issues in Business and Society


Summative Assessment


100% ECA: 3,000 word individual article (academic or practitioner-based) that examines a current issue in business and society and identifies appropriate solutions to make a positive difference.  (100%)  The assessment covers all learning outcomes.


Assessment Criteria


In addition to the generic level 7 university marking criteria and correct use of the required referencing format and style the specific criteria will be:


ECA (100%): 


◾Discussion of the identified current issue (s) and its impact on society

◾Ability to select and apply selected theories, models and concepts to analyse the issue (s)

◾Draw appropriate conclusions and identify practice-orientated recommendations

◾Evidence of wider reading beyond the discipline of management



Social media trolling and how it effects the business and society



1.0 Introduction

In the history of internet use, since the 1980s, its use has been characterised by specific behaviours defined by deviance, deceptiveness, aggressiveness and antagonism (Ortiz, 2020). In line with this, recognising trolling behaviour demand the need for insider knowledge of norms of specific websites for distinguishing sincere/insincere or genuine/deceptive interactions (Kerr & Lee, 2019). Adopting Jakubowicz (2017) definition, trolling is a form of harassment viewed as being characterised with malicious intent for provoking other users. Sanfilippo et al. (2017) defined it as a deliberate, clever and secret passion, people, off without the player’s consent. These malicious intent have negative implication for the trolled individual, society and business on a large scale. Hence, trolling has had increased popularity among the users of these spaces, spending a large proportion of their time on these websites and online platforms. A case example is what is presented in the Washington post (2018), which identify the Russian trolls as having been noted to meddle with the USA presidential election. Also, the Russian trolls have been noted to have contributed to increased racial tensions identified as “BlackLivesMatter”, which actively involved more than 600,000 Twitter users.

Similarly, Bastos and Farkas (2019) identify previous American president Donald Trump as involved in trolling political elites and citizens. This is with Tien et al. (2010) identifying right-wing trolls harassing academics on their social media platforms and Charlottesville organisers who were White Supremacists as major trolling contributors. Hence, social media trolling is significantly anchored at the center of politics and society, which are determinants of economic success. This is since it influences academic and media discourse in freedom of communication, harassment, race, and political conversations.

A successful management of trolling is a significant challenge due to the nature of the previous definition and varying impacts on both society and business. To affirm this, Ortiz (2020) noted the existence of a disconnect of the academic definition of trolling, focusing on prosocial/humour-based trolling types and the definitions informed by identity-based harassment and harm. Also, Baccarella et al. (2018) noted the largely enshrined human nature where there is a likelihood of initially believing what is visible even if not true. Also, the psychological aspect of people tends to hold their beliefs based on what is seen and how it can become a social issue. For instance, in Russia, Chinese and Venezuela, socially and economically, Sobolev (2018) note that the trolls are used in accessing information which cannot be accessed from the controlled newspapers hence improving their overall learning in terms of competencies and popularity of such governments. Based on the identified background information, this report focusing on evaluating a current issue in business and society. The identified problem is social media trolling and how it effects society and business.

2.0 Individual Implications

In order to understand how individuals, communities and organisations are impacted by social media trolling, the Honeycomb framework is applicable. According to Baccarella et al. (2018), this framework establishes varying building blocks of the social media, with these blocks defining the experience of an individual from the social media (see figure 1);

Figure 1: Honeycomb framework of social media trolling

Source: Baccarella et al. (2018)


This building block is used in referring to the scope of users communicating with the rest on various social media platforms. As part of the conversation, often, the inaccurate conversation can prevail. A case example is evident in Reddit (2020), where a Reddit platform user had willingly donated a kidney posted sourcing for donation in an associated charity. As a result, the Reddit users had assumed this was a scam and made death threats to the user. This contributed to the user having a sense of regret to the point of having suicidal threats. Similarly, as Prakasam and Huxtable-Thomas (2020) noted, Reddit noted facilitating online hunts by inappropriately naming individuals suspected of the Boston bombing.


As identified in Kümpel et al. (2015), sharing is a process where consumers exchange, distribute and receive content. To affirm the impact of this on an individual, Livingstone et al. (2014) survey which targeted 10,000 European children of age 9-16, can be put into account. From this, 40% of children noted being shocked and disgusted after they viewed violent or pornographic content shared by the others only. Hence, social media trolling has  direct implication to those sharing the content and those consuming it.


This is a practice where social media is used in identifying where, when and when others can be accessed. As a strategy of reducing anonymous trolls in different social media platforms, Furini and Tamanini (2015) evidence how different websites and social media platforms have been using location privacy and public metadata provision. This is still yet to be embraced by most of the social media platforms and investing in artificial intelligence to solve the effects of trolling on individuals. A case example is Forbes (2012) Leo Traynor an internet user in Ireland who was being trolled by a nasty troll. By racially being abused by the troll, Leo felt abused and even assumed negative feelings on his identity.


In social media use, this is identified as the scope in which users identify and influence others standing and themselves. According to Mohsin (2021), apart from the self-harm to an individual reputation, this use can also lead to sharing inappropriate content, destroying sharer’s reputation and other people reputation. As noted in Woodruff (2014), negative trolling in blogs including Gawker and Wonkette has been pivotal in destroying most public figures’ reputations.


Social media users have a provision of creating and joining circles of friends or communities with whom they hold standard features or interests. By introducing how this factor contributes negatively to individual trolling, Baccarella et al. (2018) identified the concept of ingroup-outgroup biasness. This is evidenced by racial and gender inequality as appropriate examples of conversation that happens in these groups. For instance, Guardian (2014) represent a case where groups were created calling for a Sky News report Martin Brunt sacking after the death of a woman who was an internet troll.

3.0 Social Implications

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