The other day I received a message from a reader that said: “Pro-pipeline trolls have taken over the NOW Facebook page. Is this what you want?”
Well, no, that’s not what we want. Not at all.
The reader was remarking about how some of the NOW’s recent Kinder Morgan stories posted on Facebook were being inundated by comments from people who support the pipeline.
Now, let’s be clear – just because someone supports the pipeline doesn’t make them a troll. There are a few commenters who state the opinion that the Trans Mountain project is good for Canada and back that up with numbers about jobs, etc. – and do so in a respectful manner.
But when I say “few” I mean like I could probably count the number from the past month on two hands – the rest are definitely trolls, mostly from Alberta.
I’ve included two screenshots with some typical comments, referring to people as senile and another alleging Camp Cloud people were going to deliberately set fire to the area. Those are some of the milder comments. I couldn’t include the others because they were too offensive.
I’ve checked out the backgrounds of some of the more offensive Facebook accounts and found people who work in the oil fields up near Fort McMurray. Some people refer to oil workers as “rig pigs” – a derisive term I don’t particularly like.
But based on the comments I’ve read, the term “pig” isn’t too far off. Most of these trolls swear and insult and threaten violence against anyone who supports the pipeline.
That either gets your comment hidden from our Facebook comments section – or gets you banned.
We won’t stand for it (it goes the same for anti-pipeline folks, and there are the rare ones who cross the line).
The thing I don’t get is what the trolls hope to accomplish. They aren’t scaring away people from expressing their views on pipeline issues. If anything, it makes anti-pipeline folks even more determined.
The trolls also hurt their cause by not sticking to the facts. They sabotage their own cause by coming across as a bunch of lunatics.
The sad part is it’s starting to look like these clowns will get their way as work on the pipeline continues and more court decisions go the federal government’s way - this isn't a commentary on if the pipeline should or shouldn't continue, but more about how I don't like it when bad people get their way.
*UPDATE: Based on reaction to this column so far, I will reiterate something in case people didn't understand the original version: This column is strictly about the commenters on the NOW's Facebook page and not about comments on other people's social media feeds. I'm not saying there aren't anti-pipeline people trolls out there on social media who are inappropriate - a couple of them have even been banned from our Facebook page, in fact, for threatening violence. But those who have crossed the line on the NOW's page are vastly outnumbered by pro-pipeline trolls.