The ugliness of social media

It’s a concise article in The Guardian but it’s powerful, shining a light on a truly ugly side of human behaviour.

The subject is rape and, as the article’s subtitle so aptly puts it, how social media channels like Facebook "provide outlets for the worst kind of misogyny."

Who likes rape? Loads of people! And they tell the world about it on Facebook. Let’s start with the page, "Riding Your Girlfriend Softly Cause You Don’t Want to Wake Her Up". Sleep rape too un-violent? Try "Throwing Bricks at Sluts", check out the gallery and vote Bang, or Brick. The page called "Don’t You Hate It When You Punch a Slut in the Mouth and They Suck It," has 2,086 likes. If you want stronger stuff, try "Punching Pregnant Women in the Stomach." Too tame? "Abducting, Raping and Violently Murdering Your Friend, as a Joke" has more than 16,600 likes so rape fans needn’t feel alone.

Writer Bidisha also lights up Twitter as another amplifier of the ugly.

[…] Recently, Twitter trended "Reasons to beat your girlfriend", "Worst names for a vagina", and "Birthday present for side chick" (meaning, mistress).

Other than write posts like this to help draw attention to what’s happening, what can anyone do to stop this ugliness? Nothing it seems: Facebook, Twitter and other online services seem oblivious to such behaviours, upholding as so often is the case people’s right to free expression and freedoms of speech as long as that doesn’t infringe those services’ terms and conditions of use.

I find it hard to understand how the kinds of things that Bidisha describes don’t do that.

It’s a dilemma, to be sure. Yet surely someone can apply some common sense to look at some people’s behaviours in social media likely to offend reasonable people wherever they are in whatever culture.

I know it’s not that simple. And I should probably have titled this post "The ugliness of people" as it is about people’s behaviours where social media are just channels.

Whatever, this is so ugly.


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