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Get the cyber-slaggers off Facebook

 Published on: 16th April 2013   |   By: Nik Allen

keyboard imageWhen I posted a blog last week professing admiration for Margaret Thatcher I knew not everyone would agree with me. We do, after all, live in a democracy and we don’t all have to think the same way.

I was prepared for some dissent; but I did not expect straight out abuse. Some of the comments posted in response to my views were just moronic. There was no attempt to debate the point or to put up a counter argument. It was just name-calling.

In some ways I am a bit of a geek. I enjoy watching Prime Minister’s Questions and often tune in to Question Time. I love a good debate. But you can’t have a discussion with someone who is incapable of stringing a sentence together and can only communicate by slagging.

The internet is, in many ways, a fantastic thing. But it has allowed people to confuse the idea of what free speech actually means.

Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate opinions and ideas. There is a reason why repressive regimes such as North Korea do all they can to suppress it, because free speech is powerful.

Slagging someone off is not free speech. It is mindless and stupid. A friend of mine Sue has also recently experienced cyber-slagging first hand. As Sue puts it “she made the fatal mistake of trying to reason with someone on Facebook”.

Sue put her views forward as is supposedly allowed in a democracy (incidentally the subject matter was Thatcher) and was hounded for the next two days. She received a huge number of nasty, spiteful messages. She complained to Facebook and eventually, after quite a lengthy delay, the powers that be took action.

This raises a number of points. Why is Facebook so slow to react to online abuse? Surely a prompt response to bullying would act as a deterrent. Allowing the bullying to continue for a couple of days before taking action is a like shutting the door after the horse has bolted.

Secondly, are we reaching a point where rational people are afraid to speak up on social media because the response from cyber bullies is so fierce and nasty? Surely we are allowing the small, minority who abuse social media to have far more influence than they deserve. Although cyber slaggers may claim they are only making use of their right to free speech, they are actually undermining it.

And finally, bullying and abuse does seem more vitriolic when the victim is a woman. You can make your own mind up about why this is, but the tone the abuse took with Sue really did come from the gutter.

2 Comments

  1. Jamie Allen Edwards April 17th, 2013, 7:16 am

    During her term of office she reshaped almost every aspect of British politics, reviving the economy, reforming outdated institutions, and reinvigorating the nation’s foreign policy. She challenged and did much to overturn the psychology of decline which had become rooted in Britain since the Second World War, pursuing national recovery with striking energy and determination.

  2. Jamie Allen Edwards April 17th, 2013, 7:18 am

    If you’re intelligent enough to operate a computer or smart phone, then you should be smart enough to realize the positive impact the Baroness made upon our country. You may have a smart phone, drink smart water, drive a smart car , and have a smart mouth!! Sorry to say….it doesn’t make you smart…..just a SMART ARSE without a clue of world politics, and how things truly come to fruition within governments across the world. Do your research, THEN
    post something worth reading. If not, stick to posting the stupid pictures of yourself standing in front of the mirror before a night out.

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