Haters Gonna Hate, Trolls Gonna Troll: The Personality Profile of a Facebook Troll

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 May 26;18(11):5722. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18115722.


Personality factors, such as the Dark Tetrad personality factors (Machiavellianism, narcissism and sadism) relate to greater online trolling. Other personality factors, such as the Big Five Personality factors, honesty-humility and negative social potency, may also play a role in cyberbullying, which is an aggressive behavior similar to trolling. The purpose of this study was to predict Facebook trolling behavior based on personality factors. A total of 139 participants completed a survey on their online behavior and personality factors. Online trolling behavior positively correlated with sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, and negatively correlated with agreeableness, conscientiousness and honesty-humility. A hierarchical linear regression showed that sadism, Machiavellianism and negative social potency were the only unique predictors of online trolling behavior. Trolling was unrelated to the frequency of Facebook use and the frequency of commenting. Enjoyment of trolling fully mediated the relationship between Machiavellianism and the trolling behavior. The results thus suggested that Facebook trolling behaviors may be motivated by enjoying the manipulation of others.

Keywords: Dark Triad; HEXACO; antisocial internet behavior; personality; sadism; trolling.

MeSH terms

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Hate*
  • Humans
  • Machiavellianism
  • Narcissism
  • Personality
  • Social Media*