Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. | An Internet Troll Overview


Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. | An Internet Troll Overview

Internet Trolls and Internet Trolling (aka, Cyber Harassment) are terms describing online users who harass, control, provoke or habitually disparage a child, adult, business or group using Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Usually not knowing their targets, trolls use ICT to provoke, inflame or defame others they rarely know offline or online. Provided for the reader below is an overview of Internet Trolls.

This Internet Troll introduction is part of a three part series available to read or download, at no cost, for interested parties. To download, scroll to base of page, click on “Single Page”, then scroll to base of page again and click on the blue pdf/print button to save the entire article. Part I is  “Internet Troll Overview”, Part II is  “Internet Troll Psychology” and Part III is  “Internet Troll Typologies”. All three articles have been authored by iPredator construct and NYS licensed psychologist, Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.

Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. and iPredator Inc. associates are always receptive to being contacted regarding their authored information, media engagements, and iPredator products and services. Dr. Nuccitelli can be reached anytime at 347-871-2416 or via email at drnucc@ipredatorinc.com


The Information Age is a period beginning in the last quarter of the 20th century and presently thriving in the second decade of the 21st century. The Information Age is a stage in societal, psychological and technological development similar to the Industrial Revolution (1750-1942). The Information Age represents the evolution, emergence, consumption of and reliance upon Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

ICT, or Information and Communications Technology, is defined as an umbrella term used to define any electronic or digital communication device or application used to obtain, exchange or disseminate information. ICT stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications, which enable users to create, access, store, transmit and manipulate information. ICT consists of all forms of telecommunication, information technology, broadcast media, audio and video processing, transmission and network based control and monitoring functions. ICT has rapidly become one of the basic building blocks of society becoming increasingly integral as the Information Age matures.

In a mere four decades, ICT and its importance to humanity have led many to surmise that the planet and its human inhabitants are amidst an Information Revolution. Just as the Industrial Revolution greatly changed the lives of humanity, the Information Revolution is a societal shift rapidly changing humanity’s social, economic and psychological conditions of the times. The Information Revolution marks another major turning point in history, following the Industrial Revolution and changing every aspect of daily life unlike ever before.

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From a psychological, criminological and interpersonal communications standpoint, science fiction writers and information technology developers were not aware of the Internet Troll. This writer thinks that those who constructed the Internet and World Wide Web did not foresee people using ICT for no other reason than to experience a distorted sense of power and control. One does not to have a graduate degree in psychology to quickly conclude that harming others motivated by criminal, deviant and perceptual distorted means, using ICT, is no different that it has been since the birth of human civilization. It is part of the human genome.

Unlike the cybercriminal, online sexual predator, cyberstalker and cyberbully, the Internet Troll stands alone regarding their modus operandi and personality construct. These two areas will be addressed in Part II & Part III of this Internet Troll educational series. Needless to say, the Internet Troll is a unique creature to say the least. In essence, the Internet Troll is what this writer calls Cyber Environment Dependent.

Cyber Environment Dependent simply means that an Internet Troll requires access to cyberspace in order to engage in their nonsensical passive aggression. Without having what this writer calls the “veil of anonymity” available to all online users, Internet Trolls would be non-existent. If anything, and without going into a long diatribe, if they could not hide behind their technology, “they would quickly have their ass kicked for their incessant provocations.” Prior to the internet, Internet Trolls were men, women and children who kept their subconscious fantasies for power, control & dominance between their ears hoping to one day ascend to a position in life whereby they could feel psychologically superior. Now with the internet and a cyber environment to interact with others without being in the physical presence of others to communicate, the Internet Troll flourishes.


Because Internet Trolls are Cyber Environment Dependent, tend to be weak and fragile, both physically and/or psychologically, Internet Trolls practice passive aggressive forms of online victimization. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, passive aggressive is defines as “being, marked by, or displaying behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment and aggression in an unassertive passive way.” Cyberspace is the optimal environment to engage in passive aggressive interpersonal exchanges and Internet Trolls take full advantage of cyberspace. Internet trolls are a subset of online users who engage in Cyber Harassment. Cyber Harassment is one of the iPredator typologies with it’s definition as follows:


Cyber Harassment is an assailant’s use of ICT to harass, control, manipulate or habitually disparage another online user without a direct or implied threat of physical harm. Unlike physical harassment involving face-to-face contact, Cyber Harassment requires the use of ICT and is verbal, sexual, emotional or social abuse of a person, group or organization. The Cyber Harasser’s primary goal is to exert power and control over the targeted victim(s). When both the assailant and target are minors, Cyberbullying is the appropriate term.

Cyber Harassment is one typology included in the global technological predator construct, iPredator, authored by this writer. Cyber Harassment, Cyberbullying, Internet Trolling and Cyberstalking are often used synonymously to describe online activities that include an assailant(s) targeting a victim(s) using aggressive information technology tactics. Given the list of online forums in which Cyber Harassment may occur, it is fair to assume “all” online forums and “all” electronic devices, internet enabled or not, are potential venues for this Information Age abuse. For any person, business or group who suspects they are being Cyber Harassed, it is vital to check their state statutes defining these laws.


Internet Trolls are a subset of aggressive online users who engage in cyber harassment. The primary difference is Internet trolls typically do not know the person they are targeting and will likely never meet that person offline. Internet Troll and Trolling are very subjective terms and used to describe many similar, but variable, events. For example, online users can troll other online users or a group of online users who share similar qualities. This is a behavioral term describing an online behavior that does not necessarily have to be motivated for criminal or nefarious reasons.

For any online user who is being targeted by an Internet Troll or attempting to reduce the chances of being targeted, the following Internet Safety Tips are highly recommended. If you are targeted, plan on being frustrated and inconvenienced for a minimum of 6-8 months. Anything before that is a gift from God.


I. If contacted or targeted by an Internet Troll, it is best not to correspond back as attention and a response is what they seek. If you decide correspondence is warranted, send, email or verbalize [all three at same time is best if possible] a cease and desist request. In the cease and desist correspondence, make them formal by certified mail, certified email, voice recordings or Notary Public.

II. As a prevention measure, share as little information about yourself with anyone you meet online. In cyberspace, “The less you share and always beware makes cyber attacks rare.” is an adage to live by when online. Not just Internet Trolls, but all cybercriminal and online deviants rely upon your personal information. The more you disclose to them or disseminate in cyberspace for them to access and compile, the more weapons you give them to cause you anguish.

III. Some Internet trolls do not start off as adversarial and may be quite affable in the beginning. Many trolls can initially present themselves as being very charming and helpful. If you have not met the person offline, never disclose your contact information, personal information, financial information or anything a Troll could use to defame your character or extort you into engaging in behaviors you would not consent to do.

IV. Some Internet Trolls are notorious for taking your correspondence with them, adulterate it, and use it in whatever plan, delusion, deceptive strategy or paranoid fixate they are experiencing. Internet trolls will take an email message, phone conversation, webcam chat session, images, forum/message board exchanges and any other  form of information you disseminate and exchange in cyberspace and adulterate to fit their divisive plans.

V. Internet Trolls seek recognition, which is their primary objective and purpose of living. Scolding or berating them, paying them compliments, being kind and respectful, threatening them, arguing, endearing yourself to them and every other tactic known to influence people will not work with an Internet Troll. Internet trolls are human, so accolades are always received and encouraged by the troll, but they’re trolling you. Remember, trolls go by the old public relations adage that states “Any news is good news and bad news is even good news so as long as they are talking about you.


VI.  Never comply with a troll’s demands or requests thinking your compliance will reduce help with damage control. If anything, the “Feeding the Trolls” method only makes them feel more powerful and brazen in their controlling and manipulating behaviors.

VII. If you are a celebrity, public figure or noted figure of anything in your community or life, you are at a higher risk of being targeted. All Internet Trolls seek to experience power, control and pseudo-dominance. This is not to say trolls do not target regular folks, but the payoff for them is trolling for those who are recognized in their community.

VIII. As a rule of thumb, Internet Trolls target public figures and heads of groups and communities to feel recognized and a false sense of self-importance. Internet Trolls target regular folks to get a high probability of success “quick fix” of domination over a vulnerable soul. If not seeking the “quick fix”, the troll seeks personal and/or financial gain from the non-public figure.

IX. Never forget that all correspondence [email messages, test messages, tweets, social site exchange, phone conversations, video chats, forum/message board posts, chatroom exchanges, etc.] with an Internet troll if like gold in their minds. A. Information can only be manipulated in only three ways. Information can be obtained and aggregated. B. Information can be exchanged between two or more parties. C. Information can be disseminated for private or public purposes. Although information can only be managed in three ways, an Internet troll uses this triad and can multiple these applications exponentially.

X.  If you think that confronting an Internet Troll with evidence of their deceptions, harassments or inconsistencies will cause them to stop their behavior or feel remorse, you’re sadly mistaken. Although some Internet Trolls eventually understand the harm they’re causing and stop, the vast majority have little to no empathy for the devastation they. If anything, most Internet Trolls revel in causing others harm without feeling a thread of remorse. Without sounding like a vigilante, treat them like an object the exact same way they treat you.



Internet Troll: An Internet Troll is a colloquial expression used to define an online user who uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to purposely and actively provoke, defame, anger, tease, flame, or incite other online users. More often than not, the Internet Troll does not know the target recipient(s) of their vitriolic statements and behaviors. Internet Trolls regularly appear in all forms of online mediums ranging from online video gaming gatherings to chatroom and forum discussions. When the Internet Troll’s inflammatory statements and actions do not include a direct or implied physical threat to the target(s), their behavior is categorizes as cyber harassment. If the Troll’s verbal assaults include direct or implied physical threats to their target(s), their actions are then defined as cyberstalking.

Internet Trolling (aka, Cyber Harassment) is the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to harass, control, manipulate, provoke or habitually disparage a child, adult, business or group. Unlike cyberstalking, requiring a direct or indirect physical threat, cyber harassment and internet trolls use ICT as a vehicle for disseminating provocative, inflammatory, graphic or obscene information regarding a person, group or organization.



iPredator: iPredator is a person, group or nation who, directly or indirectly, engages in exploitation, victimization, coercion, stalking, theft or disparagement of others using Information and Communications Technology (ICT). iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain. iPredators can be any age or gender and are not bound by economic status, race, religion or national heritage.

iPredator is a global term used to distinguish anyone who engages in criminal, coercive, deviant or abusive behaviors using ICT. Central to the construct is the premise that Information Age criminals, deviants and the violently disturbed are psychopathological classifications new to humanity. Whether the offender is a cyberbully, cyberstalker, cyber harasser, cyber criminal, online sexual predator, cyber terrorist or engaged in internet defamation or nefarious cyber deception, they fall within the scope of iPredator. The three criteria used to define an iPredator include:

I. A self-awareness of causing harm to others, directly or indirectly, using ICT. II. The usage of ICT to obtain, tamper with, exchange and deliver harmful information. III. A general understanding of Cyberstealth used to engage in criminal or deviant activities or to profile, identify, locate, stalk and engage a target.

Unlike human predators prior to the Information Age, iPredators rely on the multitude of benefits offered by Information and Communications Technology (ICT). These assistances include exchange of information over long distances, rapidity of information exchanged and the seemingly infinite access to data available. Malevolent in intent, iPredators rely on their capacity to deceive others using ICT in the abstract and artificial electronic universe known as cyberspace. Therefore, as the internet naturally offers all ICT users anonymity, if they decide, iPredators actively design online profiles and diversionary tactics to remain undetected and untraceable.

Cyberstealth, a sub-tenet of iPredator, is a covert method by which iPredators attempt to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they engage in ICT activities planning their next assault, investigating innovative surveillance technologies or researching the social profiles of their next target. Concurrent with the concept of Cyberstealth is iPredator Victim Intuition (IVI). An iPredator’s IVI is their aptitude to sense a target’s ODDOR (Offline Distress Dictates Online Response), online & offline vulnerabilities, psychological weaknesses, technological limitations, increasing their success of a cyber-attack with minimal ramifications.


Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.

Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. is a NYS licensed psychologist and cyber criminology consultant. He completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Adler University in 1994. In 2010, Dr. Nuccitelli authored the dark side of cyberspace concept known as “iPredator.” Dr. Nuccitelli has worked in the mental health field over the last thirty-plus years and he has volunteered his time helping cyber-attacked victims since 2010. His goal is to reduce victimization, theft, and disparagement from online assailants and iPredators.

In addition to aiding citizens & disseminating educational content, Dr. Nuccitelli’s mission is to start a sustained national educational and awareness internet safety campaign with the help of private, state, and federal agencies. He is always available, at no cost, to interact with online users, professionals, and the media. To invite Dr. Nuccitelli to conduct training, media engagements, educational services, or consultation, please call him at (347) 871-2416 or via email at drnucc@ipredatorinc.com.


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