|Leo Traynor And The Other Dublin Twitter Troll Sting|
|Written by Staff|
|Wednesday, 03 October 2012 10:30|
A blogger's account of online and real life harassment by a friend's teenage son has gone viral. It has also led many people, myself included, to question Leo Traynor's tale and suspect he might have made up the entire story.
Intriguing details have now come to light of a similar Twitter 'troll sting' that took place in the same city, Dublin, shortly before Traynor wrote his blog. And there's even a suggestion Traynor might have been involved in the sting.
The story relates to former Fianna Fail politician Chris Andrews, who in August was unmasked as the 'phantom tweeter' responsible for sending hundreds of derogatory messages from a sock puppet Twitter account, strongly criticising senior Fianna Fail members.
It was Andrews' anonymous tweets questioning the professional integrity of a local businesswoman and member of the Fianna Fail national executive, however, that led to his downfall.
When Kathyrn Byrne began receiving derogatory tweets her husband, Eddy Carroll, decided to try and unmask the Twitter pest and launched an elaborate sting operation to do so. Carroll, a director and chief technical officer at tech company Amulet Devices, set up his own fake Twitter account and began interacting with Andrews - baiting him to click a link to an article that was being monitored and allowing Carroll to obtain his IP address.
The IP address led Carroll to the Amazon internet cafe in Rathmines, Dublin - though, as in Traynor's article, how the IP address led to a specific physical address has not been fully explained. An account of the tracing process used by Carroll can be read here.
Carroll then waited until Andrews began sending more tweets, and rushed to the internet cafe where he was able to catch Andrews in the act - and even record photographic and video evidence of him sending the incriminating tweets.
He compiled a 35-page dossier and submitted it to Fianna Fail party bosses, who then requested a meeting with Andrews. Andrews didn't respond, but resigned from the party at the same time as the Twitter affair came to light, claiming his resignation was not linked to the scandal.
This might all sound rather familiar. Several elements of the story, which took place in August, subsequently appeared in Leo Traynor's now infamous blog. Traynor recounts the harassment of him and his wife on Twitter - reminiscent of the anonymous Twitter campaign against Eddy Carroll's wife. Chris Andrews' IP address was apparently captured after he clicked a baited link - similar to the way in which Traynor claims his teenage troll's IP was identified.
The internet cafe to which Andrews was tracked, filmed and photographed, is in the Rathmines area of Dublin. Leo Traynor lives in Rathmines, as stated in his letter to The Irish Times, dated August 22nd. That this letter was genuinely from Traynor is apparent because he wrote a blog referring to it (a post that's now rather suspiciously been deleted - here's a cached copy), in which he recounts talking to his postman about publication of the letter.
Here's where the story gets even odder. Scroll down to the comments on a cached version of an article about the Andrews sting, here. You'll see this comment from someone using Leo Traynor's name, describing Traynor but apparently not written by him:
The anonymous comment is clearly referring to Traynor, and implies he was involved in the sting operation against Andrews. What's particularly interesting is that the anonymous comment linking Traynor to the Andrews Twitter sting, was made several weeks before Traynor even tracked down his supposed teenage stalker and then wrote his now world famous blog.
What does it all mean? You'll have to decide for yourself, but to me it suggests that Traynor's article was, as strongly suspected, largely fictitious - though a narrative based loosely on similar events that happened to others in the locality. Whilst the anonymous comment cannot be used as evidence, the suggestion that Traynor himself could even have been involved in the sting, is also highly intriguing.
Thanks to @atommetc for his research.