Incivility in the online world is partly caused by anonymity, but anonymity has its place in the internet and needs to stay. Incivility is often described as social behavior that is lacking in respect, or good manners. A lot of people have reasons to believe that anonymity is the sole reason behind incivility online, and while it plays a huge role, anonymity has an even bigger role in the conversations happening online in the first place. Maria Konnikova, a bachelor in psychology and creative writing, writes about anonymity encouraging people to participate in discussions because their words won’t be attached to them and that if comments on internet articles were taken away, the connections we often-times make with these articles or news stories are taken away as well. Richard Bird, a freelance writer who frequently speaks about the loss of civility today, argues in his article that the ability to communicate anonymously online threatens civility severely. Bird claims that anonymity encourages incivility, like Konnikova in her article. Finally, Rich Heldenfels, a retired pop culture writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, claims that American politics has always lacked civility and isn’t a new problem at all. Heldenfels claims that media makes incivility appear to be a bigger issue than it is. In my paper, I will explain the arguments of the authors of each paper, compare them to one another, and share my thoughts and possible solutions of the problem that is online
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Many social media users, for example, have felt the blow of a very hurtful comment from strangers or friends hidden behind a false identity. For example, Twitter has become a venue where anyone from famous politicians, Hollywood elite, to one’s immediate family may spew out inflammatory and bombastic comments that they would never utter in a face to face encounter. This kind of startling exchange is just a sample of how toxic the Internet can be when the users are not accountable and can hide behind the screen of the internet. Due to the loss of face-to-face contact while online, some people obviously feel free to say whatever they want, and with the lack of initial personal reaction from the recipient of these remarks, the online troll feels no remorse. In the article, "Hiding Behind the Screen," Roger Scruton states, "In human relations, risk avoidance means the avoidance of accountability, the refusal to stand judged in another’s eyes, the refusal to come face to face with another person…to run the risk of rejection. Accountability is not something should avoid; it is something we need to learn.” (59). This statement makes one wonder if the cultural shift to online communication and the inevitable lack of
Anonymous posting provides an opportunity for social media users to reveal “honest expression, unencumbered by identity” (Poole). The ability to remain anonymous directly affects users’ online behavior to inevitably portray an extension of their offline persona, yet it also enables the choice to make claims on an identity that differs from reality. When individuals hide behind the mask of electronic anonymity, they can take the role of a cyberbully with the intention to aggravate and distress victims, which demonstrates their moral disengagement toward the feelings of other individuals. Despite the fact that anonymity fosters a “unique sense of community . . . that embraces and encourages freedom of thought [, social media sites such as 4chan have] completely raw and unfiltered discourse” (Poole). The social media site, 4chan, is an online messaging board where anonymous users do not have to submit personal information to be involved in it (Russon). Because it does not replicate real-world social norms by emphasizing the human qualities of conversation such as people’s faces, real names, as well as brief biographies, there is not a baseline of responsibility and thus users are willing to post without inhibition to castigation. The
In the article, "The Flip Side of Internet Fame", Jessica Bennett, the author, dives into the unflattering aspects of the internet. Some might think the internet is harmless and just a fun way to communicate, but for some people such as the "star war kid", it was a devastating part of their life. Something that is clear through the numerous examples she gives, is the internet can be humiliating, damaging, hard to regulate and it can convey lies. Two other point she makes is that public shaming is becoming much more popular and the internet can lead to devastating repercussions and trauma.
Perhaps one of the most instrumental factors in the increasingly problematic adult misogynistic cyber-bullying scenarios is that each individual participating in the harassment is able to do so anonymously. Anonymity allows the online participants of misogynistic cyber-harassment to feel a sense of security from retribution and strips the human traits of empathy and morality from the participants. Phillip Zimbardo, a social psychologist, studies and observes the undressing of empathy and morality seen in individuals participating in anonymous activities (qtd. in Citron 58). Zimbardo concludes, “The study found that the anonymous students delivered twice as much electric shock to subjects as the non-anonymous students” (qtd. in Citron 58).
Since the dawn of economics, markets have been the routine place to go for the purchase and sale of goods for humanity. However, with ever growing technology, particularly during the 21st Century, these market meeting places have shifted to a new frontier - cyberspace. With the advent of the Internet, humanity now had a new area to communicate through - whether it was used as a market, or simply as a pathway through which you could meet with new people. However, negative connotations came with the Internet. Coming from personal experience, people, especially those in the online gaming world, potentially become more rude, snarky, and obscene to people in the real world, as they are usually used to acting the same way with the protection
People’s online presence differs from their personality in real life, they feel almost invincible thanks to anonymity, like they can say anything without repercussions and consequences. In Jon Ronson’s book, “So You’ve Been Publically Shamed”, he examines 4 people who have had their lives ruined by online harassment via social media platforms, with virtually no repercussions for the online shamers. The problem with internet is the mass amounts of threats sent and received everyday, which proves that our online citizenship should
With the advent of the internet and the increasingly common use of computers to communicate with others (Christopherson 2007), Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) and Social Media have become imperative to study in a social psychological context. In regards to CMC, it has been postulated that the absence of social feedback and social context information might lead to uninhibited behaviour, as these gaps may not yet have been replaced by shared norms for either conveying or interpreting the social meaning of communication (Siegel, Dubrovsky, Kiesler & Mcguire 1986). We propose that the anonymity of CMC is enabling individuals who otherwise engage in normatively prosocial behaviour to engage in antisocial, antinormative behaviour. This
Furthermore, Boyd claims that people have a right to do what protects their well-being and says: “What’s at stake is people’s right to protect themselves, their right to actually maintain a form of control that gives them safety” According to Boyd, nobody has the right or authority to stop people from doing what protects them the most. Any action to stop people from protecting themselves is wrong and that’s exactly what the ban of anonymity calls for. Boyd holds the same idea as Stafford and Zhou that people need to be protected from these “trolls” on the internet but unlike the other authors, Boyd sees anonymity as the defensive measures that people take to protect themselves. Without anonymous accounts and names people at risk such as stalking victims, rape victims, defectors from suppressive governments, and company whistleblowers are left defenseless to people who have access to the internet and their identities and the intention to harm them. It is unreasonable to take a risk to implement something, not knowing if it will have any positive effect, but knowing it will definitely negatively effect many users of the internet. Boyd’s article explains that anonymity allows for all ideas to be fully expressed without being afraid of backlash from individuals that aim to harm you. This lack of
“The Loud, Ugly World of Online Commenting” by Benjamin West talks about the newest form of exploiting freedom of speech – online commenting. This mode of expression of speech was meant to voice opinions and critic pieces but, users have been using this mode to make nasty and rude comments. And what encourages this behavior is the anonymity, like Mike Krahulik suggests that “Normal person plus anonymity plus audience equals total dickward” when people are aware that their identities are hidden, they feel they are not responsible for the consequences of their words and feel free to be hateful. These hateful comments that individuals post in fact can have very serious consequences to the person it is addressed to and is a form of cyber bullying.
October of this year, students of American University experienced a new sense of racial tension on campus and specifically online. The emergence of Yik Yak, an app specializing in anonymous, localized postings, created an unseen directness of extreme thought, in which Washington D.C’s American University encountered. Different “yaks” seen throughout this community alluded to sensitive topics such as the 3/5ths compromise and the KKK, all notoriously known wrongdoings of American people. I argue that these kinds of comments would not be made if the setting would be instead a face-to-face conversation or if it was, it would be distastefully received. The medium of social media allows for harsher and more blatantly offensive comments to be made without direct consequence or judgement. Susan Svrluga describes this cause of racial tensions through her article, Students Take Racist Comments and Spread Them All Over Campus. Media and technology allow for a barrier to be built between oneself and direct consequences or criticism in which may arise, thus fostering an environment that facilitates racist commentary and action. The concept of this barrier is demonstrated through the Yik Yak posts at American University as well as specific online dating websites, twitter posts and televised performances.
Hiding one’s identity Is nothing new. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay authored The Federalist Papers in 1787 under pseudonym Publius. The ability to communicate anonymously is viewed as part of our basic right to free speech . With the advent of computers and ease of access to the internet, becoming anonymous as never been easier, and is far more reaching than the colonial newspapers of 1787. For some this ease at which we can communicate anonymous is cause for concern. Although we are no longer hiding our identities to promote the ratification of the Constitution, being anonymous still plays a large role in our society. Online anonymity grants anyone with an internet connection an unbiased voice, regardless of gender, race, or wealth. Without this freedom to online anonymity many people would not feel free to express themselves or release sensitive information about themselves or about corruption, in the case of whistleblowing. Anonymity can also be used as a security measure and prevent unauthorized mining of personal information. Although multiple ethical framework will be used and compared, using a consequence based framework will be the main examining point throughout.
The online anonymity issue that arose ever since the internet had the ability to create profiles has grown to a something much re than some face every day. Millions of “fake” accounts engulf us while feeding us untrustworthy texts without even knowing. These fake accounts have the most privileges when the secret of who the really are is never released. Having anonymity on social media gives users some sort of safety cape to be able to possibly say whatever they feel. Some people take this tool and use it negatively while others ignore it or even may use it positively. The epidemic of fake accounts taking over the internet has been questioned to have an effect on those creating it and how they may act differently thanks to having anonymity
Discriminatory behavior on the Internet is an interesting and challenging topic. But what makes it interesting also makes it a particularly demanding topic to write upon because, although there are many avenues of research topics to be investigated upon, there is only a very limited amount of existent research to draw upon for a literature review of the topic. None the less, a maturing framework for the study of intergroup communication on the Internet is developing and maturing. While the internet represents an advancement in the age of information technology, relevant precedents of major communicative innovations must also be explored so that the Internet as a communication context can be better understood. Therefore, the study of the
The changes in American culture through the internet have generally been very extensive; however, the average American might not see that the changes have been exceptionally negative for the United States as a whole. Aside from the positive aspects that the internet made possible, such as easier access for education, the anonymity and privacy allotted to internet users in the United States plays a key role when it comes to the negative aspects arising in American culture. Anonymity creates a realm through the internet where the consequences of words, photos, videos, et cetera are typically overlooked. The level of anonymity that one possesses on the internet reduces the level of social regulation between four different types of communication online: full anonymity, pseudonymity, visual anonymity, and face-to-face (Keipi 1099). When one understands that social regulation roughly means one’s applied use of social norms, internet anonymity can be understood as a Pandora’s box that unintentionally depreciates what society values. Much like Pandora, allowing unregulated anonymity on the internet will continue to lead to greater issues that no one can easily erase. According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted by Lee Rainie and others, a majority of Americans greatly value personal privacy over transparency on the internet (1). Despite the fact that most value their privacy above other options, the solution to combating political polarization, ethnic discrimination, and online
In modern society the internet has become an important utility that everyone accesses daily. Whether it be checking news articles or using it to view social media, it has become integrated into society. Even businesses rely on a clear and functioning internet to perform essential business related activities. In recent times, the question of a neutral internet has been challenged repeatedly in prospects of deregulating governmental actions protecting the internet despite public disapproval. While there are advocates for both sides of the argument the current regulation proves to be beneficial for businesses as well as average consumers. As such, the principle of net neutrality should remain intact due to its social and economic advantages as well as the insufficient argument for its repeal.