UoB students are being harassed by an anti-ageing troll wanting to ‘kill off the elderly’
He’s commenting on students’ Facebook posts and even pictures of dead relatives
A Facebook troll masquerading as a Birmingham Uni grad has been harassing UoB students, with messages including ones claiming “manslaughter helps solve overpopulation”.
The troll is using social media to debate with students about topics including death and sexual harassment, writing comments such as “kill off the elderly” and “suicide lets you have a quick planned death”.
Students messaged by the troll tell The Birmingham Tab the weird campaign of comments and DMs has been “insensitive”, “antagonising”, and “uncomfortable”.
But when we confronted “Jake Harding”, he simply doubled down on his comments and refused to reveal his true identity.
The user has stalked UoB students and their families on several different social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok using a series of fake names and profiles.
The troll claims to be an ex Biochemistry student at the University of Birmingham, however he is unable – or unwilling – to verify this information, leading to students doubting his credibility.
Several students have come forward to detail the harassment they have been subjected to by an anti-ageing troll. The user is currently operating under the alias “Jake Harding”, although has previously used the name “Johm Hi”.
According to his Facebook profile, the troll claims to have studied at the University of Birmingham. “Jake Harding” told The Birmingham Tab that he studied Biochemistry for three years although would not disclose when he started the course or when he graduated.
The troll claims to be a supporter of SENS Research Foundation, an organisation working to develop treatments for illnesses associated with ageing, although admitted he is “not hired by SENS” and “SENS hasn’t provided (him) a financial incentive to promote them”.
Annabel Wooden, a third year English Language and Linguistics student explained to The Birmingham Tab that the troll “commented on a picture of my Nanna posted by my cousin at the end of last year” writing “this is exactly why we need to cure ageing”. Annabel’s Nanna passed away a few years ago.
The third year student described how the comment “was just so insensitive and made me feel so uncomfortable that he has access to these photos of my family members because we were friends on Facebook”.
Annabel deemed the situation “really weird”, adding: “I worry that he could upset somebody with the comments he makes”.
“Jake Harding” explained to The Birmingham Tab that he commented on the post because “ageing kills grandparents” and “when my grandparent died, someone did the same to me”.
Birmingham students have also expressed their concern at the troll’s comments stating “manslaughter helps us solve overpopulation”, “I’ve tested +ve for COVID and I’m […] trying to spread Covid-19 as much possible” and “kill off the elderly”.
Responding to these comments, “Jake Harding” told The Birmingham Tab that he wrote this “to highlight the absurdity of arguments against anti-ageing therapies”.
Em Andress, the Trans Students’ Officer for the Guild of Students told The Birmingham Tab how “out of nowhere” the troll commented on his Guild Officer Facebook page that “people commit suicide because ageing is a slow, horrible, painful death”. Em described how “it was really strange, I have no idea what prompted it.”
When The Birmingham Tab put these comments to “Harding”, the troll stood by what he had written claiming that he “was depressed because when we get old we get sick” and “that’s horrible”.
A female UoB student who wished to remain anonymous explained to The Birmingham Tab how, after making a post recounting an experience of sexual harassment on campus, the troll began a series of comments on her post. She described how “he kept asking if I’ve reported it to the police, how old the guy was, if he was asking me out as a joke”.
“He also said that sexual attraction causes sexual harassment somewhat implying that it was my fault”.
The student explained that “he was super antagonising and made me feel really uncomfortable”.
The troll defended his harassment of the student, telling The Birmingham Tab “if we solve ageing we won’t need humans to reproduce to maintain the human race”.
“We can separate men and women and implement laws making men-women contact illegal” which, he wrote, would “eliminate ALL sexual harassment permanently forever.”
Third year MEng Chemical Engineering student Farhan Chin told The Birmingham Tab how the troll sent him a “three-day-long drivel about anti-ageing”. After seeing the troll’s posts about “eugenics, sexist, racist stuff with all lives matter rhetoric”, Farhin blocked him on Facebook.
The student went on to describe how the troll then “found me on TikTok”, and “spammed” him there, commenting “cure ageing” on one of his posts. Farhin “immediately blocked” the account.
Marvin West, who studies Biochemistry detailed to The Birmingham Tab that, after sharing some news articles “about how test and trace wasn’t being handled well” the troll “blamed the elderly by saying there were old people working in track and trace which is why it wasn’t working”.
The comments continued after Marvin “shared a post about how people should have access to first aid in medical emergencies”. The Biochemistry student claimed that the troll responded by writing that “if the patients were elderly they shouldn’t receive help because they are old and that letting them die would help manage overpopulation”.
“Harding” told The Birmingham Tab that he said these things because “when people tell YOU there are other ways of controlling overpopulation they process what they are saying” and agreed that he wanted people to contradict him.
Third year Business Management student Holly Sambridge explained to The Birmingham Tab how the troll has also been posting on her Facebook timeline, including making comments about Capt Sir Tom Moore. ‘There’s a fine line between free speech and cruel and hurtful comments,” she said.
“The fact that he has brought Capt Sir Tom Moore into it is nasty and a huge disrespect”.
Camille-Juliette Roelens, a first year student studying Liberal Law with French Law described to The Birmingham Tab how she had “debated with (the troll) before, because he started questioning this girl who’d posted about being harassed.”
The troll “had asked whether maybe the grown man had been dared into harassing her and was trying to excuse their behaviour.”
Camille-Juliette branded the comments “appalling”. She went on to share how the troll has since commented on a relationship life event post she made on Facebook in 2018, once again referring to Capt Sir Tom Moore. “It’s just getting creepy at this point” the first year student wrote.
Several other students have also reported the troll posting material on their timelines, including Postgraduate student Fatemeh Ardakani and third Year Biosciences student Lucy Hawley, who told The Birmingham Tab that they “uploaded a video about anti-ageing'”onto her Facebook profile.
A few days after we initially spoke, “Harding” messaged again, unprompted, to say “we need to separate men and women like countries. Look at the news!”
Again, we asked if he realised the impact of his comments, or if he’d reveal his actual identity – safe to say he did not.