LOLing at tragedy: Facebook trolls, memorial pages and resistance to grief online

Whitney Phillips


This paper examines the emergence of organized trolling behaviors on Facebook, specifically in relation to memorial groups and fan pages. In addition to mapping the development of RIP trolling — in which online instigators post abusive comments and images onto pages created for and dedicated to the deceased — the paper also examines the highly contentious and ultimately parasitic relationship(s) between memorial trolls, Facebook’s social networking platform and mainstream media outlets. Recalling Oring’s account of disaster humor, the paper goes on to suggest that, inadvertently or not, Facebook memorial page trolling presents a pointed critique of a tragedy–obsessed global media.


Trolling; Facebook; Online grief; cyberbullying; disaster humor

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