Facebook user, Michelle Chapman, is quite possibly the first person in social media history to be arrested and convicted for trolling herself.
In Internet slang, a troll is a person who provokes discord by starting arguments or upsetting people. This is achieved by posting inflammatory or offensive messages online. Trolling can be defined as the deliberate act of persistent harassment, appearing on social media groups/pages, tribute pages, and comment sections.
As troublesome as online harassment can be, this is likely the first case of self-inflicted trolling. British media, the Western Daily Press, says 24-year-old Chapman trolled her own Facebook page with hundreds of vitriolic, abusive posts including ones with vile sexual taunts following a nasty falling out with her father, Roy Jackson, and her new stepmother, Louise Steen Jackson.
Chapman, who had already been estranged from her family for several years prior to the inciting incident, allegedly began a year long self-trolling campaign in an effort to frame her loved ones – creating several bogus Facebook accounts, complete with photos, on behalf of her father, step mother, and other family members.
The Facebook fraudster eventually contacted police, reporting documented abuse at the hands of her family. Thisiscornwall, another UK-based news source, reports that between February and October 2011, Chapman made eight written complaints to authorities regarding the online trolling she supposedly was being subjected to.
Per Chapman’s plan, warnings were issued against several family members, including her father, and her step mother was subjected to at least one arrest and interrogation from the ordeal.
However, the deception was eventually revealed when forensic computer experts tracked the origins of the fake offensive content to Chapman.
Details of the plot were revealed in court following her arrest. Chapman confessed to sending herself degrading messages between February 2011 and March 2012, and framing innocent relatives in the process.
For her trolling, Chapman was sentenced to 20 months in prison and was made the subject of a restraining order – forbidding her from making contact with her victims. Her computer was also confiscated.
Michelle Chapman’s husband, Glyn Chapman, 57, intends to stand by his wife. “She is the victim, she has mental health issues and it was a cry for help. This is what you do when you’re in desperate, desperate need of help – you scream out.”