A huge part of our lives is spent online on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Now, the internet is supposed to be a free space where everyone and anyone can post their opinions, their thoughts, their political standing among other things, without any restriction.
In a space like this, hatred is bound to take its ugliest shape. If a person expresses an opinion that isn’t suitable in this capitalist, chauvinistic and corrupt world – ruled by people with power and money, and in any way hates the structure of the crumbling ‘paradise’, they are bound to receive threats and/or hate comments that eventually affect their daily lives and mental health.
From history, we know that power and hatred comes very easily to a huge section of people. Since centuries, people have been killing and raping out of anger, revenge and hunger to prove their power. I believe that there have been speculations (a lot of time with proof), that people in power have got their hands bloodied in order to control the masses, withhold the truth and run their countries inside a structure whose walls are made of fallacies.
It was so easy for human beings to have wars – it hardly surprises me when one gets hate online for being rational and/or upfront about an important issue. A lot of our population can threaten online and get away with it.
I am a blogger and I know a bunch of writers, artists and just other opinionated people who firmly post about who they are, what they want or think ,and a lot of times the comments on the posts amuse me.
‘Block’ and ‘Report’ buttons definitely help on a personal level – one can restore mental peace by using it, but it doesn’t really eradicate any kind of hatred. Your bully will just move on to another person.
The issue is, a lot of times people don’t think about their anger – whether they’re rational or not, they’re making sense or not. They feel an emotion, and they act on it. Does it have something to do with patriarchy as well? Do men think it’s their birthright to let their anger out anywhere and everywhere they like? Are online platforms a place without repercussions?
To write this article, I searched cyber bullying and online hate to see a general lookout on the subject. I was surprised to see articles just focused on the after effects of it! The depression, the anxiety of the victim – yes, all that is there, but what about getting to the root of the cause? What about trying to stop it from happening? Yes, the bullies cause you anxiety but don’t you think they know that? Why would they be sympathetic towards the victim when that was their motive from the beginning? Are they sadists? Possibly. They want you to stay awake at night and think about what you said because they feel it’s wrong.
Another side of the spectrum is propaganda. I think men from political parties threaten those who dare to think and voice their opinions. Why? Fear is power – and power rules people. Power that’s rooted with fear and anger. If the masses started thinking, they would be in trouble. So, they shut down the spark before it can start a fire – the age old theory.
Another aspect is a twisted idea of fame. To bring down popular people – to satisfy themselves by threatening and bullying important people in internet to feel better about themselves is a sport for them. It also makes them feel significant and might just give them some popularity.
In an unregulated space, women are the easiest targets. From rape to death threats – it’s amazing how easy it is for the people on the other side, to just write those comments and forget about it.
Recently a popular political – satire page ‘Humans of Hinditva’ on face shut down when he started to receive death threats for his family and himself. He stated he is a simple middle-class man without any political connections and would not like to end up like Gauri Lankesh or Afrazul Khan.
A nation can’t take jokes!
I think that he was raising very important political issues through his handiwork. In the 21st century, we are living in a country where apparently, the ruling government’s national propaganda is to promote a religion. A movie could not release this year because the Karni Sena, a group that didn’t have any popularity before this huge drama, threatened to behead Sanjay Leela Bhansali and cut Deepika Padukone’s nose – and they got away with it! If you’d go around asking people protesting in Mumbai against the motion picture, they might probably tell you they were given cash to stand there. I’m sure many won’t even know what they’re protesting against!
Online hate comes from a deeply rooted issue of not talking about important things on our day to day lives with our families – politics and sex are largely avoided for they make us uncomfortable.
Apparently, a woman showing her body online is liable to dick pictures and rape threats, a man questioning the government might have his house burnt down.
It’s a crime to make a joke – and it’s easier to get away with threats than satire.
Online community is a place for all but there should be some lines. You can debate all you want, agree to disagree but you shouldn’t be free to attack someone’s personal life just because you think what they’re saying is intolerable or wrong.
There’s a long way to go for humanity, and with the way our history books look, I am not very positive. All we can do is try to keep ourselves safe and start talking about issues instead of making small talks and tip-toeing around issues that makes us uncomfortable. It’s those that affect our lives the most.
In conclusion I think online hate and cyber bullying are largely ignored aspects, and sometimes even victims don’t take it seriously and meet dire consequences. The government is doing little, the authorities are least concerned and their negligence is pretty explanatory since they’re behind a lot of it.
We need to think, talk and start taking those horrible messages and comments seriously. It’s a large-scale problem and block and report buttons can’t be a complete solution. The social media authorities need to have a better filter about what’s wrong and right.
We have to find ways to help each other out, and not ignore this like so many issues are, in our daily lives.