Social media moderation has been a hot topic of conversation lately, with cases of internet trolling becoming more frequent and tragic with every passing day.
This has caused a public outcry for social networks to take responsibility for, and action against the people who abuse the ability to communicate with anyone at any time via the internet.
There will always be those who try to tarnish the good things in life, just like the trolls in fairy-tales they ruin the public’s romance with social media and scare users out of clip-clopping over the many metaphorical bridges of communication now available to them.
Thankfully, Twitter has finally taken notice due to celebs threatening a Twitter boycott, plans to stage an online protest and a shed-load of negative press. The social network has introduced a new button (to save victims of trolling or its own skin?) making it easier and faster to report abusive tweets. However, the responsibility still pretty much lies with the user. So at least the big-wigs behind the scenes can still sleep soundly at night while trolls wreak havoc, make threats and destroy lives.
Although this new function is appreciated and social networks don’t actively make these awful people behave in such a disgusting manner - they do provide the platform on which to do so. Despite this, I can’t help but think the problem may not have anything to do with technological developments increasing the ease of global communication – but with society itself.
We all have the ability to become grotesque trolls if we choose to, but we don’t. So what makes these sick individuals act this way? Sure, they can now bombard people with abuse whilst hiding behind their computer screens like the cowards that they are but what makes them WANT to?
The internet is a gigantic mass of information, accessible to anyone at any time - and apparently knowledge is power! But to quote Spiderman’s beloved Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility,” and all of this power is now in the hands of all kinds of people; the good and the bad, the nice and the nasty, the morally sound and the morally corrupt – but no one seems to be taking responsibility.
Trolls would argue they’re exercising their right to freedom of speech, while victims feel they should be able to go online without being abused, and many social networks seem to think that everyone can do what they like because it’s nothing to do with them.
The online world is so rapidly and constantly evolving that rules and laws are struggling to keep up. And with so many online communities and no one around to police them, it’s no wonder there seems to be an online riot looming on the horizon.
With children taking their own lives after being failed by the seemingly non-existant system and families left devastated by such an utterly pointless loss, it’s now the responsibility of society as a whole to make social networks a safe place to be. Through education, online moderation and strict laws the public, government, social networks and moderation providers could potentially make a huge difference. So grab your torches and pitchforks and let’s drive these terrible trolls out of town! (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)