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In response, Twitter executives are to be brought before a Parliamentary committee to face allegations that they’re not doing enough to combat misogyny and abuse in their digital spheres.

It’s taking on all the dimensions of a moral panic.

The thoughtless viciousness and sexism on display is, of course, entirely repulsive.

This kind of ironic pretense works well on the internet because on the internet reality has no ontological priority over representation.

Rather than blending everything into the mush of simulacra, this allows the victim, operating under an illusory principle of reality, to unwittingly reveal something actually true about themselves.

The common Twitter game of trolling internet atheists does much the same thing.

You can try it yourself; all you have to do is tweet something along the lines of “hey #atheist, if evolution is true how come rock’s dont turn into boulder’s” or “if athiest’s are so logical why do they worship the false lion-headed god athie,” and wait for the tidal wave of indignant responses.These are the commentariat, after all: many in the British press are happy to put forward sane and reasonable justifications for imperial wars and the demonisation of immigrants and sexual minorities.On an unregulated internet, they complain, they have to deal with the angry criticism they deserve.It all sounds a little like what’s been called ‘cupcake fascism’: the stifling tyranny of the nice.Apart from all this, one major complaint (as powerfully put forwards in this piece) concerns the semantic shift in the word ‘troll’: a word that used to signify a dextrous and entertaining form of online (mis)communication is now being used to talk about careless and barely directed abuse.Some time in the fifth century BCE, a contest was organised between the Greek painters Zeuxis and Parrhasius.