Media framing of trolling and online abuse: silencing strategies, symbolic violence, and victim blaming

Karen Lumsden (Corresponding Author), Heather Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


This article draws on British newspaper reports in order to demonstrate that trolling, and the media’s subsequent framing of trolling, involves “silencing strategies.” It is important to examine how trolling is discussed within the media to understand how it might frame public opinion, debate, and action, and implicitly victim blame. The article presents findings on the forms of (online) abuse and behaviours related to trolling in media reports, including rape threats, death threats, and body shaming. It also explores the media portrayal of victims of trolling, and the advice given concerning how to respond to trolls. To comply with the message to women, which is propagated in media and popular discourses: “do not feed the troll” means that “symbolic violence” is exercised with the complicity of the victim(s) of trolling, which has broader implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-940
Number of pages15
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number6
Early online date27 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • online abuse
  • rape
  • social media
  • trolling
  • victims
  • Framing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this