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SOCIETY Social Media and the woes of accountability

Published 08 Jan 2018 11:23AM

Words by Sarah Smith




In the wake of cognate log heads Jake-Logan Paul's hundredth cloddish foible; the question still stood in waters of sputtering code, posed awkwardly behind digital pitchforks and baseboard signs whipped out and brandished hashtag first. To what extent are individuals accountable for the over-stuffed un-policed mess that is the internet?

Interconnectivity bit a sharp social justice into the bulbous rear end of (sans vacant celebrities and tittering YouTube moguls) politics, the judicial system, cultural conversation and accountability. The spike in public flogging has littered the web with abandoned posts of the collectively coined term 'dragged'.

The remainder, bitter, stumble around corridors of eggshell and exposed nerves blindly hoping to avoid breaking one or stumbling into the other. But in the current social/political fire truck we're rolling around inside, the vital question is, who is afraid? And why?


According to the 'New York Times, consumer Insight group' 94% of us use social media to pass on valuable information, 84% use it to discuss/represent issues they care about and 69% use it as a channel of connection. Parse.ly listed a 23% expectancy increase between the lifetime of a story spread via web in contrast to the written word.

So, the blueprint is binary. Sites like 'The daily Stormer' are denounced to the dark web as contained entropy, Industry mishaps (see Pepsi's marching band #spreadlove drivel) is rough-housed. The web is both open forum and swinging pendulum and there is no excuse to be ill-informed.

Reddit medium for the obscene recently underwent a purge of entropic bile and removed explicit rhetoric and far-right propaganda threads. Stating: "Do not post content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people."


Jokes surrounding Alexis Ohanian's nuptials to esteemed athlete Serena Williams, see; "Reddit married a black woman and became woke" circulated the internet. A playground acknowledgement to the lax use of red tape when the issue cannot be heard in monetary value.

Donald Trump has taken to the proverbial waters like a bowling ball to a fractured ankle. Fumbling through stringent oratory and name calling the president-elect burbles out nonsense that either directly contradicts or undermines his policies.

And whilst easy to mock, and it is, gleefully so when you forget he knows the nuclear codes the recognised importance (undoubtedly managed better by precursors) not just of public opinion but to the greater extent public forum, is at least one token of pulse point merit.

But what is the downside to the home-made lieutenant badges? According to PRC, 59% find discussions of politics on social media aggravating as opposed to informed, with 83% listed as avoiding or ignoring discussion rather than engaging with a live thread. The exposure of stupidity on a larger scale than the average taxpayer seems both an opportunity to learn and a space where nobody can afford to make mistakes.


Is there a difference between tossing a random cadaver to the masses, or 'blowing up' information that would otherwise be buried without a mark; Rampant police brutality toward African Americans in the US, or the fashion industries dismissive ambulation toward representation, and telling Logan Paul to wise up?

To what extent does the removal of phrases and pocket smeared ideologies infringe a right to express frustration to like-minded chaps. Well, it's simple. If it's encouraging or perpetuating the idea that a group are deserving of harm and/or abuse it is hate speech. Ignoring a marginalised issue and/or voice is ignorance and perpetuating stereotypes or allowing skin colour to affect your view is prejudice.

The Paul brother in question is currently apologising faster than we can keep up, and despite reliable tweens rationalising the half-baked intention to 'draw attention to issues of mental health'. Regardless of 'like this if you're sad too' attached below the thumbnail of a man hanging from a tree in suicide forest japan on his YouTube page.


We are as responsible and accountable for the choices we make on the internet as we are outside of it, and whilst consistent cases like the Paul brother's demonstrations of insensitivity and Surban boy privilege are a lesson, to him undoubtedly, it is also an opportunity to learn. The consequences of that entitlement are yet to be seen but on a larger scale.

The racist, homophobic collectives and 'make a sandwich woman' men who seem to be lamenting at this curt-tail of culpability, if you're capable of learning you have no need to be walking on eggshells anyway.












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