No textbook solution to social media’s trolls

Posted on March 27, 2014 06:06 pm

Recently, I argued and readers questioned my thinking and criticized me for being a techie who view information as rudimentary and not as part of technology and development. Social media networks benefits to consumers across the world have been immense.Even businesses venturing into the social media arena are reaping big.If you are fan of Vladimir Putin you will find good news about Kremlin on Twitter and other social media platforms and if you want to know bad news why Manchester United is a mid table club nine months after they won English Premier league browse social media and the best to sick jokes about the ‘Red Devils’ will be plenty. To the fast and furious social media, it’s all the same irrespective of which news your looking for. Sometimes back, I wrote how social media sites are the centerpieces of the good and evil.Few can argue that Internet has been playing a key role in inflicting grief and sometimes mental trauma that has led to what mainstream media calls ‘internet deaths’ or ‘Twitter deaths or ‘Facebook murder’ to mention but a few. Last night I was following LBC live broadcast of fierce debate between United Kingdom Party’s Leader Nigel Farage and Deputy UK premier and the leader of Liberal Democrat’s Nick Clegg.Although I subscribe to free markets ideals championed by Conservatives, I sided with neither of them but to be sure of who won beyond what YouGov poll showed, I visited my Twitter page to read online reactions of the debate.

The broadcasting and sharing of shocking jokes about Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg for those who did not believe with them was shocking. Jokes and sickening opinion was quick and was forced to refresh my page every minute to keep up with reaction feed but notably there were less and less caution being practiced by Twitter users because some of the comments can attract legal action in real world.Before LBC debate on Europe, I was on CNN watching US president in Brussels and in between I browsed twitter and people were sharing stories of Crimea loss to Russia is shocking way. Online users like me get a broader perspective on life and do better understand the world. With breaking news like the disappearance of Malaysian Airliner social media has helped busy blokes like to get the latest about the mystery that has baffled the world of intelligence and aviation as well as general population. Few of those who share links bother to check facts.As a matter of personal principal, I hardly share links on Twitter unless am certain of the facts. Social media played key and good role in Arab Spring and Twitter demonstrated the positive side of the online networks, which played a big part in political change in Arab countries in what came to be known as Arab Spring.

The problem I have is that it takes just a single buffoon who is ethically insensitive to kick-start a misleading rumor like the reported deaths of Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby both who are still alive. Outrageous and cynical videos whether factual or not can go viral in a matter of minutes as happened with Turkish PM clips.Despite the embarrassment it has caused to Turkey’s Prime Minister, Twitter blocking or any other social media is archaic and rudimentary fire fighting tactic that is bound to fail. Regulation should be out of the question and no country or person should ever rein in the social media or its users. There is need for freedom of expression that sustains social networks’ strong focus but it keeps the bad lemons alive as well. Two years ago, I lost a childhood friend after she contracted the deadly HIV Virus from a male friend she met on Facebook.I am libertarian and believe that ethical standards need to be instilled and not enforced as the Turkish government did by blocking Twitter. However, social media users must realize they must use the power they have responsibly. Freedom and empowerment of the social media is not the same tweeting of names of crime victims even before the next of kin have been notified.  As experts have said, there is no known solution to curbing the excesses of online networking culture but individual can limit their excesses.

Contador Harrison