The comments section is the home of bigotry, prejudice, and negativity. The amount of vitriol that is spewed is gobsmacking! I have concluded that there is something about the comments section that brings out the worst in people; but perhaps as food for thought, the comments section contains truths that can only be said online (what may be truly in people’s hearts and this is a sad realisation)
But why is this the case?
For one, people feel that they remain anonymous online.
You create an email address using a pseudonym.
You put up a fake or artistic profile photo
You have a cool username, which has nothing to do with your name and surname
You can delete your browser history
Then: with your profile set up, you can have interactions including people you don’t know, especially people you don’t know. You can choose to agree with them. You can choose to disagree with them and if pushed far enough (or even not pushed at all) you can attack them.
Society has also become PC (politically correct) people with stomach churning views often have to suppress their opinions in real life. These people often plaster on fake smiles and privately express their concerns about certain groups of people, certain places, certain political opinions etc. for fear of being called out, if said opinions were to be expressed publicly. But along comes the internet and hey presto, people can find kindred spirits and have a platform to share their diabolical (and often disgusting) views with those who will agree with them and validate them. And when no one solicits for their opinions they write offensive emails or letters and shove their views on others.
Let’s look at a case study: Diane Abbott
For all who don’t know, Diane Abbot is an MP (Member of Parliament) for the Labour Party for Hackney North and Stoke Newington in London. She is also the Shadow Home Secretary.
Diane Abbott appears to be extremely disliked for forgetting her numbers and facts during interviews, this is not surprising but there is also something sinister that’s fuelling this dislike, and it’s always bubbling under the surface. A quick scan of the comments section on articles about Diane Abbott will reveal the abuse, much of it is racial abuse. She shared that she has been called a “nigger bitch” by abusers, has received death threats, threats of acid attacks and rape. A quick scan on social media and of course the comments section thereof will show plenty of abuse.
Case study two
In Italy, news broke that a young lady was killed and a Nigerian man was arrested in connection with this murder. Good. That girl who was murdered would get justice, right? Well some right-wing psycho decided to get a gun and go on a shooting spree. Anyone who appeared to be black was shot as they were peacefully going about their daily lives (never mind the fact that they had nothing to do with this murder)
I barely followed this news but good olde Facebook suggested a post and I followed the click bait. In the comments section some people were justifying the attempted murder of these black people- someone even applauded the gun man and said he was doing a job that the government was failing to do: cleaning up! Some (sadly) agreed.
The topics that seem to cause a frenzy of abuse online:
– Obama and his wife
-Black lives matter
-Politics: UKIP, Labour, the Conservatives (*insert any political party in your country*)
– Black Panther new entry to the list****
So, what can be done to stop abuse online?
Theresa May announced that the government will consult on new laws to make the online abuse and harassment of Members of Parliament illegal; in a separate article it was argued that this law, should it come into existence, should also benefit ordinary people as well. People’s feeling of anonymity online should be reduced; because in reality internet providers can reveal people’s identity, IP addresses and mobile devices can be tracked. Because harassment in real life is punishable by the law, if it qualifies so should online harassment. Racial abuse/ religious discrimination/ homophobic attacks/ sexism/inciting hatred and inciting crime is all punishable by the law, crimes such as these that are committed online should also face the full force of the law as well.
People should also educate themselves, prejudice and discrimination should have no space in any society!
That’s my two cents
Peace and love