“Feminazis,” “libtards,” “snowflakes,” and “racists”: Trolling and the Spiral of Silence effect in women, LGBTQIA communities, and disability populations before and after the 2016 election





Spiral of Silence, Trolling, 2016 election, digital harassment, doxxing


Using a Qualtrics survey of 338 Twitter and Facebook users, the authors explore the effect that the 2016 U.S. presidential election had on people’s political posts both before and after the election and whether or not people actually experienced harassment and threats during the election cycle. If trolling causes people—particularly women, LGBTQIA community members, and people who identify with a disability—to censor themselves because they feel their opinion is in the minority or that they will be attacked for speaking, then it would follow that trolling is changing our digital public sphere, which is affecting our political conversations. 

Author Biographies

Candi S. Carter Olson*, Utah State University

Department of Journalism and Communication

Assistant Professor of Media and Society

Victoria LaPoe*, Ohio University

The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism

Assistant Professor


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Original Research