Trolls spread hurtful messages to those who mourn Tristyn Bailey


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After the murder of Tristyn Bailey, family and friends took to social media to share their grief. Others have posted on social media to offer prayers and support.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Florida – Kids are drawn to social media. While social media can be a way to show positive support in the aftermath of a tragedy, it’s also a dangerous place where trolling and misinformation can cause harm.

After the murder of Tristyn Bailey, family and friends took to social media to share their memories and grief. Others have posted on social media to offer prayers and support for those in mourning.

Still, some of the posts were alarming, attacking Tristyn’s grieving classmates and even Tristyn herself.

“What I saw most concerning were the comments celebrating what happened and wishing the circumstances and the experience to be as excruciating as possible,” said child adviser Steven Montesinos.

Trolling during a tragedy is quite common. Montesinos said the best thing for people to do if they saw him was to ignore him.

“Avoid taking the bait,” Montesinos said. “By taking the bait, commenting and responding to someone’s inflammatory comment, what you may be doing is reinforcing that behavior.”

While trolling is undoubtedly harmful to the bereaved, it can also cause trouble for the person trolling it.

“They shouldn’t be surprised if law enforcement comes knocking on their door based on what they’ve said,” said Mark Baughman, First Coast News crime analyst. “There is nothing wrong with using social media and using it to support in a positive way. Something negative?

Baughman explained that the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office has its own dedicated social media task force, analyzing potentially harmful posts.

“What they’re looking for is something negative that they might need to follow up on that could lead to criminal activity,” Baughman said.

Yet social media isn’t just dangerous because people don’t care about a tragedy. Social media is also a place where people spread false information in response to a tragedy.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday identified several accounts in response to troll activity in response to the Tristyn Bailey investigation:

  • WD_Conner
  • WD_Tyler
  • WD.Jayson
  • ATK.Jayson
  • Wd_jayson

Several social media accounts appear to have been suspended in response to Tristyn’s murder behind schedule.

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