Why GIFs Are A Method For Cyberbullies To Attack People

Posted by Ishita Sahai in #NoPlace4Hate, Sci-Tech, Society
January 2, 2018
Facebook logoEditor’s Note: With #NoPlace4Hate, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook have joined hands to help make the Internet a safer space for all. Watch this space for powerful stories of how young people are mobilising support and speaking out against online bullying.

A GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) has transformed the way people communicate on social media nowadays. It has given a creative form to the slangs, jokes, actions or memes and brings across what people would want to say in the form of comments. In today’s world, where people get agitated on even the most innocent comment, GIFs have repeatedly helped to calm such situations in an amusing manner. For example, a comment like “Do you have to speak to me that way?” and a similar GIFs leads to different impacts. Very often, using GIFs is one of the best ways to ensure that people’s walls come down. This also helps them realise that they might need to calm down and re-look at a situation. 

Comments usually lead to ugly fights which could affect someone’s feelings, or it could attack their self-respect, whereas, a gif helps to put forward anyone’s views – but in a slightly bizarre and toned down form. The number of GIFs available is, of course, limited which also helps in cutting down such conversations which include online hatred.

Even sometimes, usually in a group conversation people start ganging up against one person, and he/she cannot reply back, due to fear, the lack of self-confidence or not coming across any quick reply. A GIF simply helps such people to get away from the situation in a respectful manner, without indulging in any form of inappropriate conversations.

It’s a win-win all around – it helps fight hate and you look cool while doing it. As GIFs are pre-assumed to be a humorous gesture, they do not lead to personal attacks and keeps the atmosphere calm. On contrary to popular belief, less is more. When, with the help of only a few words and gesture or facial expressions, the particular feeling, emotion, views are stated on a social media platform, they too, are more appealing. Hence they lead to subtle conversations accompanied by comments, but of course, an awkward conversation can be ended by a sarcastic GIF without stating unhealthy or rude content.  

So the next time you face online hate, try using a GIF to combat the situation. Using technology to beat those who misuse it, might be the best way to fight troll culture.