We are living at a time when social media bullying or online trolling is the norm of the day. We have to deal with this new online hazard called ‘cyber harassment’ day in and day out. Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others have now emerged out as the most convenient way to abuse, troll and pass condescending remarks on others under the garb of anonymity and freedom of speech.
Of late, former CEO of Twitter admitted that the popular “Micro blogging Site” has failed to tackle the menace of online trolling across the globe. According to a statistics around 50% of the twitter users have faced online trolling once or more.
Even a reputed news site like CNN wasn’t spared. A lot of derogatory and anti-social comments have been posted by online trollers on the news site with nefarious intent to harass others in the discussion or comment thread.
CNN found that the behavior of online trollers is somewhat different from other users in a sense that normal users express their opinions freely but trollers wait for some particular topics to emerge so that they could intervene and start hurling abuse to others — not in sync with the thoughts of trollers. However, CNN has now stopped giving access to trollers with strict algorithms, and all comments are now first manually checked by the admin before approval on the site.
With rise in cases of cyber bullying worldwide, even law enforcement agencies have now come forward taking stern action against anti-social elements engaging in intimidating a user with life threat or criminal intent. But it is far from satisfactory; hardly 10% of the real trollers ever get caught in their real lives.
Online Trolling is a Global Threat
A couple of years back, certain section of antisocial elements in the UK openly abuse women and LGBT. Then Stop Online Abuse campaign was launched throughout the Britain to condemn the practice of online abuse and threats.
A few years back, online trolling crossed all limits when a few abusive netizens mocked a FB memorial page of a deceased person. In another case, a feminist Anita Sarkeesian received a bomb, rape and murder threats from certain criminal-minded online users for speaking up against the “misogynistic perception” prevailing in online games.
In another case, the deputy editor (Washington) of New York Times left Twitter after he was flooded with hate tweets for taking on a controversial issue. A Pew Research Center survey indicated that 70% of trollers are in the age bracket of 18-24. Also, around 26% of women have faced online stalking in their lives.
Shockingly, political parties usually stay mum on this trolling anti-social saga. During the 45th US Presidential Elections, many online trollers openly supported Trump and thrashed Hillary Clinton and her supporters. But none of the parties took the matter seriously.
Online Trolling is Dangerous for Common People
The fulcrum of trolling mentality is to harass people. It is because of these trollers and abusers that many right-thinking and rational people have stopped using social media. Andrew Auernheimer (Weev online) is the biggest troll in the history of social media.
Andrew served more than a year in prison on the charges of conspiracy and concealing real identity, but didn’t mend his conduct even after getting released from Jail. He left the US and moved somewhere else but kept trolling online. Recently, Reddit has also banned a few discussion groups for posting obnoxious things online. Online harassment is taking a dangerous turn now.
What we now need is a strong law to punish online trollers for harassing people and indulging in antisocial and illegal activity. If a group of people intentionally posting loathsome and hateful messages online to criminally intimidate others, then they should be dealt harshly under the hands of law.