In the last week, we have seen an obscene side to the “freedom” of the Internet, with Charlotte Dawson and today Robbie Farah’s attack. These are by no mean isolated incidents, this stuff happens all the time online. Trolls on Twitter have hit me starting with a-would be politician and even a student lawyer getting involved. I screen grabbed the content and started blocking the trolls as they came out to play. But it is a scary and horrible feeling.
News ran an article at the beginning of the year, profiling the mind set of a Troll “It makes me happy when I can make someone angry” it seems these people even get off making people feel like killing themselves and abusing people who are grieving as well as making them “angry”.
But how do you legislate for this, while keeping an uncensored Internet / freedom of speech society.
No Anon Posts – This is one area that really can be rectified. Some publications happily take anonymous posts and comments that are snarky and ill informed, verging on defamation at times – ban anon posts. Make sure there is an identifiable name to a handle.
Reporting Abuse – The social networks need to take this more seriously, at least apply word filters. When abuse is reported, it needs dealing with, as opposed to falling into a black hole of nowhere.
Threats = Legal Action – If people go to the extreme of issuing death threats, threaten to hurt or maim, defame people, just like off line they should be punishable by law.
I can’t say I have the answers, but these are some simple baseline things that could be implemented pretty immediately.
I am all for freedom of the Internet, but I also believe in appropriate behavior policed by laws of the land.