I’m sure we have all heard the recent media coverage of the MP Stella Creasy who was subject to a torrent of abuse on Twitter and the story of Phil Fish who this week announced he is giving up on the gaming industry because he is tired of the constant abuse he is subject to from other people on the internet.
This is obviously not the first time the media have reported on someone being abused through social media and the culprit being arrested by the police. I hope we all know that attacking someone on the internet is no different than attacking someone face to face. Why then do people find it ok to facelessly spew vile rants at people thinking they are protected behind their keyboard and monitor. I find this analogous to otherwise sane people who become aggressive and abusive when they are sat in a car. It must be the disconnect we feel from our fellow human beings that allows us to act this way.
Now let me just say that I believe in an open internet and I would never suggest that we should somehow filter content or police the web in any kind of way. BUT I personally wonder why we are not holding these companies responsible for the abuse that they allow to happen through their services.
Why do Twitter or Facebook allow this to happen? If I was getting abuse from someone while sat in a restaurant would I not expect the restaurant owner to intervene, not only to protect his customers but also to protect the reputation of the establishment as a nice place to go.
Maybe it’s because these companies don’t need to protect their reputation because they are so large?
I think Twitter is allowing damage to its reputation by not filtering these comments or at least policing them in some way . Twitter should be a nice place to hang out and not a free for all where anything goes.
Maybe sooner or later the users are going to get fed up with getting abused and will vote with their feet or do we all just accept that the internet is mostly a place devoid of normal civilised decency?