Social Media Allows Users to Insult, Bully, and Threaten Others without Any Fear of Punishment
The internet and social media are without a doubt incredible inventions that allow people to connect with the rest of the world. Because of global technological advancements, billions of people can now access social media from any device that can connect to the internet. There are numerous social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snap Chat, to name a few. Anyone with a device that can connect to the internet can easily access the sites. A user creates an account on the social media site, and he/she is free to publish any information. The majority of the users take advantage of joining the social sites with fake identities and ages because joining these forums is open to a less detailed user and personal information. As a result, the social media has become a platform where people, especially teenagers are exposed to be insulted and bullied, and the perpetrators go unpunished.
This essay will argue that it is true that the social media permits its users to insult, bully, and threaten other users without fear of any punishment.
It is evident that social media gives users permission to bully, abuse, and threaten any other users without any fear and remorse because users are allowed to publish any information on their social media pages without asking permission from anyone. Social media sites give their users the freedom of expression whereby they write anything they feel like without even thinking that it might hurt third parties.
In addition, social media gives users permission to bully, insult, and threaten any other users without the fear punishment because most users create anonymous accounts. Snakenborg, Van Acker, and Gable note that, when an anonymous account is set up on social media, a user can use the account to threaten, intimidate, and bully other users without being identified because the account does not bear his/her personal information (90). Several social sites allow a user to have many friends from all parts of the world and this means, a majority on the friend’s list are strangers, and therefore, it will not be easy to know if the user is real or has a fake account. Hence, many users end up becoming friends with strangers with secret accounts, and this makes them vulnerable to abuse. This is because the user with the anonymous account and no personal details will take advantage of the friendship shared on the social sites and acquire another user’s personal information with the aim of humiliating and intimidating him/her. This happens because the user does not fear of being punished as they have confidence that they will never be identified since they have an unidentified account.
Many social media sites allow users to create groups and add members from all corners of the world without even their knowledge and consent. As a result, the administrator of the group can use the group wall to bully and insult other users without being identified. Such people will gather personal information from another user’s account and use it to bully them on social media groups, and it is sad that these bullies commit these crimes without any fear of punishment because most of them do not have their personal detailed information on their social sites.
Social media gives users permission to bully and threaten any other users without the fear of punishment because many intimidated and threatened people fail to report these cases due to lack of a proper way to apprehend the perpetrators. Therefore, the victims have increased the culprits’ confidence to continue cyber bullying any vulnerable user because they know that they will not be reported. They continue conducting the illegal acts on social sites, and many other culprits end up joining them because the social media allows them to commit these crimes. As a result, most of the victims end up in depression and even a majority commits suicide because they cannot withstand the intimidation these bullies make them go through.
Moreover, social media gives users permission to intimidate and threaten any other users without the fear of penalties because the lack of prompt response from law enforcing agents. Most social media sites are complex and do not have a quick medium of response for reports of bullying. For instance, on a social site like Facebook, a user can upload a picture or write a comment that is insulting, threatening, or derogatory and after it has already caused harm, he/she deletes it (wordpress.com). Even though the defamatory image or the statement is removed, it has already achieved its purpose of hurting or threatening the other user. It is unfortunate that the law enforcement agencies cannot have the evidence to make the user accountable for his/her actions unless screenshots were taken before it was pulled down (Mann 260). This is an example of how the social media permits users to abuse and intimidate other users, and they go unpunished. Evidence of a crime committed on social media sites can be eliminated, and this gives the cyber bullying culprits the confidence to continue making their mischief because they believe that there is no way they will be caught.
Social media facilitates bullying and threatening without the fear of punishment because most social media sites are privately owned with institutions that are profit oriented. These social media sites only provide an agreement contract whereby a user is only supposed to accept the conditions of the social networking site (which in most cases are never taken seriously), and he/she is free to post anything. According to Barbra Dozier’s blog, this means that there is little that can be done on the many cyber-crimes because these private institutions do not invest in inspecting the material on their social sites because they created them for monetary gains (wordpress.com). Therefore, this gives permission to proceed to bully other users openly because the site owners are doing nothing serious on the issue. Nonetheless, if these social networking social sites could insist on verifying all users’ identities, then there could be a reduction of these cyber crimes like threatening, bullying, and insulting.
Bullying, abusing, and threatening takes different dimensions. For instance, one can decide to use private messages, or rather use someone’s private information or images by publicizing them with the reason of intimidation and bullying. In addition, a user can broadcast defamatory private information about another user’s family or personal life in several social media sites because they are open and free to join. This mostly occurs amongst youth, but some cases involve adults, for instance, employees and employers and parents and their family friends (Luxton June, and Fairall 198). An example is an employer harassing and bullying employees all the time. One of the workers can decide to take it on the social media and threaten the organization with an anonymous account since there will be no evidence to prove his/her identity as there will be no information or satisfactory linking this employer to the account. Therefore, it is evident that no one is free from social media bullying, insulting, and threatening, starting with the youth to adults. Some users find it fun to bully other users because the social media gives them the permission, as there is no proper means of finding and punishing the offenders.
Even though several social media sites give their users a platform where they can report any form of threats and bullying, the intended purpose has never been achieved. As stated earlier, a user can add a defamatory message or photo about another user, and before it is even reported, the message is deleted from the wall. Therefore, even though there are laws created to regulate social media contents, it is hard to find evidence to apprehend a perpetrator. Furthermore, since most of the culprits have anonymous accounts and so, there is no way to identify exactly who is behind the insulting and bullying on social sites and this gives the offenders more confidence to continue with their mischief on social media.
It is eminent that social media gives users permission to bully, insult, and threaten any other users without the fear of punishment. The social media allows users to perpetrate cyber crimes and they go unpunished because most social sites do not authenticate info given by the account holders as true. As a result, this allows many anonymous account holders to bully, insult and threatens other users openly without the fear of being punished (wordpress.com). Therefore, several things can be done to stamp out these increased cyber-crimes. For instance, introducing strict laws for all social media users whereby anyone who joins any social media site has to verify his/her identity before joining.
Encouraging users to take screenshots of any abuse and reporting them may also help in the reduction of the increased social media crimes that go unreported. Furthermore, creating awareness of the issue at hand can transform into significant steps of creating a safe environment for every social media user (Cassim 12). Even though many users maintain that the internet should remain anonymous, it is vital to introduce very strict online regulations because to make social media a safe environment for all users. According to Manuel, when strict rules are implemented, many social media trolls will cease their mischief, and they will be no more for fear of being arrested and punished (219).
The Internet is a necessary due to the advancement of technology because people are dependent on the web for several things. Therefore, there is no way we can shut social media sites; however, we can advocate for new regulations that will govern social media use by protecting all users. Choosing to report cyber crimes in a timely manner will help curb social media crimes.
There is no question that the social media has made it easy for people to connect with the rest of the world. However, close attention should be paid on the darker side of the growing network where there are increased cyber crimes with perpetrators remaining unpunished. Social media encourages users to insult, intimidate, and bully other users in several ways without the distress of punishment. According to Barbra Dozier’s blog, most social networking sites are plagued with fake and anonymous profiles and illegitimate photos (wordpress.com). As a result, vulnerable users fall prey of these strangers and become victims of abuse and bullying. In the real world, one has to face the consequences for abusing or bullying another person, but since Facebook is just a virtual version of the real world, people break the rules and abuse and bully others without fear of any serious punishment for their actions. Most users do not even consider online interaction as real, and so they use social media platforms to intimidate others because they are confident that they will get away with it because there is no proper legal prosecution for cyber crimes in many countries. So far, there are no stringent internet laws that ensure the cybercrime perpetrators will be punished for their crimes. This issue needs to be addressed soon to stop abuse and bullying and make the internet a safe place for everyone.
Barbra Dozier. Social Media Allows Users to Insult, Bully, and Threaten Others without AnyFear of Punishment. Babradozier. WordPresss.com. n.d.https://barbradozier.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/social-media-allows-users-to-insultbully-and-threaten-others-without-any-fear-of-punishment/ Accessed 24. April. 2017.
Cassim, Fawzia. “Formulating Adequate Legislation to Address Cyber-Bullying: Has the Law Kept PaceWith Advancing Technology?” South African Journal of Criminal Justice 26.1 (2013): 1-20. Print.
Luxton, David D., June Jennifer D. and Fairall Jonathan M. “Social Media and Suicide: A Public HealthPerspective.” American Journal of Public Health, 102.S2 (2012): S195-S200.
Manuel, Natasha Rose. “Cyber-Bullying: Its Recent Emergence And Needed Legislation To ProtectAdolescent Victims.” Loy. J. Pub. Int. L. 13 (2011): 219. Print.
Mann, Bruce L. “Social Networking Websites–A Concatenation of Impersonation, Denigration, SexualAggressive Solicitation, Cyber-Bullying or Happy Slapping Videos.” International Journal of Lawand Information Technology, 17.3 (2009): 252-267. Print,
Snakenborg, John, Van Acker Richard and Gable Robert A. “Cyberbullying: Prevention And InterventionTo Protect Our Children And Youth.” Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education forChildren and Youth 55.2 (2011): 88-95. Print.