A small group of Twitter users called Team Ninja Trollhunters (TNT) has been pushing back against climate disinformation online, Huck Magazine reports.
Peter, who tweets under the handle @ScienceNotDogma, is one of the founding members of TNT. The Canadian resident spends hours each day standing up to online “trolls,” disruptive users who make inflammatory and false statements — many of whom deny that the world is warming up or that human activity is the cause of these changing weather patterns.
According to TNT, correcting this false narrative is essential. “The planet is warming and you can’t start saying it isn’t — because it’s just so important,” an anonymous member of TNT told Huck, using the alias “Helen.” “It’s important not to let people get away with lies.”
Peter says a trollhunter is “really just somebody who steps up to someone being a jerk in public and says ‘No, please leave, sir, you’re not welcome here.’”
TNT is always on the lookout for Twitter users who are willing to speak out to join the invitation-only group. Once they’ve joined, members of TNT across the U.S., Europe, and Australia coordinate to watch for disinformation day and night.
“It is quite important to reply with your information as soon as they’ve [tweeted],” TNT member “Tom” told Huck. “If you get in there quickly, that helps.”
TNT members strive to stay polite, calm, and factual while linking to reliable information to counter the false statements of the trolls. They also report any rule-breaking, such as threats against TNT members. So far, the group, which included 25 people at its height, has gotten 500 troll accounts banned.
Unfortunately, many of those bans have not been permanent. Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, Huck reports that most of the users banned due to TNT’s efforts have been allowed to return. Since then, the group has lost about one-third of its members due to discouragement. Not only that, but the site has become slow to respond even to violent threats, and it can take weeks for moderators to ban rule-breaking accounts.
Nevertheless, the remaining members of TNT are determined to continue spreading accurate climate information and challenging the trolls. Making sure that the public understands these issues allows individuals to make responsible lifestyle decisions and push for more widespread change.
“I am here until the climate crisis is solved,” Peter told Huck. “However long that takes.”
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