Local television station WSYR interviewed Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor of Practice Anthony Rotolo about the recent fake memorial Facebook page to Jenni-Lyn Watson, a Liverpool, N.Y. college student who disappeared over her Thanksgiving break and was found dead in Clay Central Park.
After Watson was found dead, a Facebook page was set up proclaiming to be a memorial page, but actually contained offensive statements and material that outraged many people who visited it.
“When something happens whether negative or positive in the news,” Rotolo said in a television broadcast, “part of the Internet culture is that sometimes trolls emerge.”
An Internet troll is a person who deliberately posts offensive material online, often anonymously as in this case, in order to provoke a reaction.
“It can be an attempt to get noticed, even though they’re usually not using their own name,” Rotolo told the news station.
Users reported the page to Facebook and the social networking site promptly deleted the page and released the following statement: “Facebook is highly self-regulating, and we provide report links on nearly every page and encourage people to let us know when they see something they think might violate our statement of rights and responsibilities.”
Rotolo, who also serves as Syracuse University’s social media strategist, often speaks on issues in social media, from Internet trolling to cyberbullying. He holds a B.S. in Information Management and Technology and a M.S. in Information Management, both from the Syracuse University iSchool. In May 2009, he received the iSchool Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award, and in December, he received the Web-based Information Science Education Consortium’s 2009 Excellence in Online Education Award. He is also the co-founder of Enormo.us, a creative agency specializing in social media, animation and interactive content.