In light of Lord McAlpine’s threats to sue 10,000 Twitter users and reports that 1 in 3 adults have been subjected to online bullying isn’t it time we put our brains in front of our keyboards and think before we tweet?
I remember being told ‘if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all’ then we invented the internet and it seems that rule went out of the window as people become keyboard warriors. Opinions that may have been spoken in private hurting no one are now public and can be subjected to legal action if it is deemed to be bullying or liable.
Social Media is a fantastic tool and if used effectively is one of the best ways of commuication, promotion, learning and development as well as being way ahead of print media in terms of current affairs and news.
The problem is everyone has an opinion and voice and it is easy to forget that when you tweet or publish a comment on social media that you could be upsetting or damaging the reputation of the subject. If such and such from I’m a celebrity was sitting in front of you, I doubt you would tell them they are useless or say something offensive and even threatening, yet thousands of people tweet and comment on a regular basis posts that could be interpreted as abusive, bullying or liable yet is spoken in private may just be a bit of a laugh or joke.
Stats show that 1 in 3 adults online have been subjected to online bullying, an increase since last year which was 1 in 4. I would once have found this hard to believe but recently have seen for myself online bullying to others and myself. Most online bullying towards adults is people in the media and teachers who are being bullied online by parents and students. These stats are horrible and the more I am made aware of this the more I can see how ‘funny’ comments can go too far or be interpreted in the wrong way.
The viral nature of social media means that many comments that are funny, but also derogatory or abusive can be shared and spread far and wide which can be particularly upsetting and damaging.
Twitter and Liable
An example of how a tweet or comment can spread further than rumour is Lord McAlpines highlighted case where he is reportedly suing 10,000 tweeters for deformation of character (£5 per tweeter to go to charity) after he was wrongly accused on Twitter of child abuse; the allegation was spread and re tweeted causing great personal damage to his character.
Many people are criticising the way that Lord McAlpine is handling this but it has highlighted the need for people to think before they tweet or pass on comments without fact or substance especially about a persons character or integrity. £5 is not a huge amount but not only does it hold Tweeters accountable for their actions but it highlights his innocence which may have otherwise been swept under the carpet leaving his reputation damaged permanently.
Have you been subected to online bullying? Do you agree with Lord McAlpines methods? Feel free to comment- although no abusive comments please lets start thinking before we type