IMPACT
01/27/2016 04:38 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2016

Cheeky Group Turns Internet Trolling Into Donations

"Hopefully it’s a win-win situation, because it will help stop people speaking out negatively by highlighting the abuse, and we’ll raise some extra money."
A refugee sits in front of a fire in the refugee camp known as "the Jungle" on Jan. 15, 2015 in Calais, France.
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A refugee sits in front of a fire in the refugee camp known as "the Jungle" on Jan. 15, 2015 in Calais, France.

Every time a troll posts on the Facebook page of Calais Action, a volunteer group helping support refugees in Europe, the organization gets a little stronger.

Organizer Libby Freeman calls it "TrollAid." Here's how it works: any time Freeman or others spot a negative comment on the page, instead of deleting it, they post a link to a crowdfunding website where others can donate.

The donations are tracked separately from the rest of Calais Action's funds, so trolls can see exactly how much money their vitriol has generated. As of this writing, the account was up to‎ 660 British pounds, or just under $950.

Freeman shared one such example of a profane comment a troll left on the page:

"As we grow we are getting more and more trolls, abusive posts and negative attitudes to our work on our page," Freeman explained in a comment on YouCaring. "We take this as a compliment, it means we're succeeding!"

"These guys give their time to adding something to the refugee crisis, so we'd like to be able to give something back to them," she continued. "When a troll posts something, we will post the TrollAid link underneath the comment, so everyone can donate what they can. You can even leave a message for them here, and we can see how much that particular troll has raised."

Calais Action provides items like wheelchairs, backpacks full of warm clothes and other supplies to refugees in need.

"Hopefully it’s a win-win situation, because it will help stop people speaking out negatively by highlighting the abuse, and we’ll raise some extra money," Freeman explained to the U.K.'s Unilad Magazine. "We don’t just want to shut people down, more importantly we want to educate ... a lot of people just don’t understand the situation, and if you can get just one person to change their attitude, who knows, maybe they’ll pass it on to their friends."

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