Itslavishbitch—But is it really lavish?
Profile Trolling on Instagram
By Alexis Leshner
Itslavishbitch: The man? The myth? The legend? Whether it is all three descriptions or none at all, it cannot be confirmed. The user behind the account named, itslavishbitch, has introduced a new phenomena that can be seen as Trolling 2.0 or profile trolling. Here, we will break down this user’s master trolling work on the popular photo-sharing app, Instagram
Profile Trolling on Instagram
First, to fully understand Trolling 2.0, we must understand trolling 1.0. Trolls on the Internet are not creepy dolls with Einstein hair that ranges in colors from the rainbow spectrum. Net trolls are also not green creatures that live under bridges. However, this second common conception and characterization of trolls shares certain similarities to online trolls. Like the fictional green trolls who lurk in the darkness and terrorize people, trolling on the Internet can be either men or women who hide behind their computer or phone screens causing mayhem. Trolls thrive in identity deception by creating fake or over-exaggerated accounts on social media, blogs, and other types of forums. Trolls cause trouble on these sites by posting comments in opposition to the rest of the group. This stirs up drama among the users of the site and often results in the blocking or removal of the disruptive account.
“Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players. The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group’s common interests and concerns; the newsgroup members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings and, upon judging a poster to be a troll, make the offending poster leave the group.” – Judith Donath’s Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community
Itslavishbitch: Infamous or ‘Instafamous?’
While some Instagram trolls comment on other people’s pictures to create chaos and animosity, there is a new form of trolling that shows the trolls exaggerating their own profiles to stir up controversy. For example, Digital Trend’s Article on the Infamous Instagram Troll discussed itslavishbitch, which is an Instagram account dedicated to showing off his wealth, “real or not,” and trolling celebrities in order to stir up ruckus on Instagram:
“…Lavish has come a long way since first being dubbed Instagram’s biggest jerk … [and] has since become something of an internet anti-hero by trolling celebrities, chronicling his “lavish” lifestyle … Whether or not you believe Lavish’s “daddy is on Forbes richest” isn’t so relevant anymore. This 18 year old is accomplishing something close to Internet infamy. And 400,000 Instagram followers love him for it.”– Digital Trend’s Who’s Behind itslavishbitch, Instagram’s Richest Troll?
Itslavishbitch is different from the typical troll who posts negatively on celebrities photos. Instead, he posts comments and pictures about his lavish lifestyle on his own profile. He provokes celebrities in his own picture captions by saying that they are poor and unworthy in comparison to him. He ‘tags’—meaning links the person’s username to the picture so that the person receives a notification saying that they have been tagged in a picture—these celebrities in hopes that they will see it, and they do. Yet, it is unknown whether his wealth is real or fake. Itslavishbitch even goes so far as to encourage and provoke people to comment negatively on his own showy pictures:
“Responding to a troll is very tempting, especially since these posts are designed to incite. Yet this is where the troll can cause the most harm, by diverting the discussion off the newsgroup topic and into a heated argument. Instead, most groups advise ignoring such posts, both to keep the discussion topical and in the hope that, if ignored, the troll will go away.” – Judith Donath’s Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community
Some trolls on Instagram, like itslavishbitch, have gained popularity due to their outrageous comments. Itslavishbitch has also gained followers by posting pretentious pictures of his wealth and deeming A-list celebrities to be poor compared to him. This troll is the one you hate to love. He is outrageous and pretentious, but he is entertaining. Itslavishbitch is a troll that will be missed if banned from Instagram.
What Happens Next?
Aside from Instagram being a hit with celebrities, Instagram is also big with online trolls. Luckily, for the rest of us, celebrities are usually the targets whom endure trolls commenting on their Instagram photos or videos. These trolls usually target celebrities with loyal followers. The troll will controversially comment on the picture, stirring up mass craze for his or her own amusement. Below is an example of a troll who vulgarly comments on a picture from a famous rapper named, 50 Cent’s account. This results in outrage among the celebrity’s fans.
As you can see, from the example above, the user “gunplaymmg,” is causing trouble on 50 Cent’s comment feed, causing loyal fans and followers to become upset. Judith Donath discusses a similar situation in her article mentioned before and writes a sentence on how one describes trolling on the Net:
“…Someone baits a post and then waits for the bite on the line and then enjoys the ensuing fight.” – Judith Donath’s Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community
Victims of trolls can block these accounts and Instagram can also remove them, but there is no way of ensuring that the same person will not come back on Instagram under a new username. Annabel Grossman’s Article on Instagram’s Spam Account Crackdown discusses how Instagram removed ‘spam,’ or fake, accounts. Spam accounts were largely the group that made up celebrity followers, due to the fact that these accounts were often trolls. Since these groups made up a big portion of Instagram accounts, celebrities lost a lot of followers when Instagram had the trolls removed. When trolls get banned from certain sites, there is usually relief that the troublemaker has been sent to the principal’s office. Yet sometimes, the removal of a troll can cause people to be upset. For some, people can are upset because of losing a form of entertainment. Additionally, like mentioned before, Instagram removed several spam accounts causing a mass decrease in celebrity’s followers and altering who won ‘most followers’ on Instagram, thus, causing upset among celebrity Instagramers.
While trolling can be as common as posting distastefully comments on users’ pictures, profile trolling is also up-and-coming by creating an entire profile to inflict ridicule. A few hatful comments compared to an entire profile that mocks people appear to be more effective for new-age trolls. All in all, trolling is relevant on mostly every social media site. One must take precaution when creating his or her profile to ensure the safety of oneself and one’s profile contents. In addition, users must be aware of false accounts because it could be the making of a troll, although one may never know. While trolling can be entertaining, it still stirs up hatred among users and destroys the sites credibility and sense of security.