Currently, many of the people have been able to access social media sites around the globe. This has been achieved due to the ability to access any media sites using any gadget that are internet enabled. Media sites such as Instagram and Facebook have been embedded on mobile phones with a special dedicated key that facilitates easy access. The huge increase of online users have contributed to the radical change in the nature of communication for example in media sites such as Facebook which has over 750 million users, the nature of communication among the site users is not just convenient but totally instantaneous thus enabling people to communicate and connect within seconds (Goldman, p30). It is usually hard to control the information in the media sites since the content or information is under the control of the account holder. Social platforms have also turned people from consumers to publishers of content without having to request permission from other people or the media companies. This gives the account holders the freedom of expressing any statement they feel they want to. Also, the convenience created by the media sites has enabled the people to understand that conducting online crime is easier and tend to have limited risk of being punished or caught. This study upholds that Social media has allowed users to bully, insult, and threaten others without any fear of punishment due to various existing factors.
The Concept of Uncontrolled Anonymity
The social media users may choose to use their real identities or use fake profiles to hide their identity. In most cases, to ensure that the user remains anonymous, he or she uses other people's photos, names and they pretend to be that person. For instance, an individual can register their Facebook account using fake credentials even when they are aware that it is against the social media ethical codes. Any person joining the media platforms is required to enter their name, date of birth and the email address. Once these credentials are entered, the media sites do not have a system in place that is mandated the responsibility of verifying the information accuracy (Scott, p79). The ability to hide one's identity has promoted bullying, insults and threatening other people without the fear of being punished because they are sure that they have completely concealed their identity and they cannot be easily identified. On the other hand, The people who use their real identity tend to feel safe behind the keyboard since they are not involved in face to face conversations. Therefore they tend to gain the perception that they can get away with the crimes of insulting other media users. The concept of uncontrolled anonymity has led to the audacity of an individual to conduct identity theft by accessing peoples media accounts and impersonating them. After gaining accesses to the accounts, they start sending messages to the victim's friends. The messages which appear to be originating from the account owners.
Increased Use Of Internet-Enabled Gadgets, And The Ignorance Of Social Media Users On The Issues Of Cyber Security
Many people around the world can now conveniently access the various media sites through any internet enabled device. The media sites have been converted to desktop versions that work only in the desktop computers and the phone versions that tend to be compatible with the various phone models as long as the phone can access the internet. According to research, nearly every computer literate individual is now engaging in social media activities, and can also be accessed through one of the social media platforms. In most cases, the media users are unaware of the online insecurity that the criminals pose. This mainly works to the criminal's advantage since the media victim is not aware of who and what is most likely to compromise their social media accounts(Scott, p102). Considering that the media sites popularity has increased greatly anybody who wishes take part in the media communication can now do so with high convenience. Social media communication mainly involves sending photos, messages, online live charts and other documents in an instant. This increased social media popularity and their respective features have highly exposed people to the possibilities of being insulted and being bullied since with the huge number of online users it becomes hard to trace the individuals who are engaging in this unethical behaviors. This is because the people sharing information in the media sites may be groups or individuals with similar interests and background.
Another key strategy exposing the media users to threats, bullying, and insults is the fact that some of the media users are being added to other online groups without their consent. Those who take up the initiative if adding people to other groups do so without any fear of being punished. For instance, the friends of a specific individual on Facebook can add him to a group without his or her consent. Once they are connected in a specific platform or group, they publish false information concerning the victims and they also publicize the confidential victim's information (Madden & Lenhart, p98). When people who have been close friends for a long time fall out, one may decide to use the media sites against the other as a way of seeking revenge. For example, friends who have been working together and have been engaging in social media chatting can easily take their insults online in case of a conflict. They usually harass their rivals by posting irritating comments abound their rivals and even their sexual orientation. In such a situation, the person who has been offended tend to threaten or insult the other on the various social media sites considering that there is not enough evidence that links them to the account being designed. Those engaging in this offending behaviors are aware that there is no specific law controlling such cases in most parts of the world thus most of the internet criminals tend to get away with the crime.
People Do Not Consider Media Interactions And Communications To Be Real
People usually believe that they are passing time by posting bad things about other people in the media sites. People who are undergoing certain frustrations or depression in life tend to perceive the internet as the place where they can relieve their emotions since they are anonymous. For example, the racist's individuals usually make people from other races to feel less human through posting irritating messages and photos about the minority groups or races (Goldblum, p78). In most cases, the panic and fear initiated by such actions affect the media audience's minds by hindering them from accessing the truth. To some point the stereotypes messages or photos about a specific race trigger negative reactions that are of a higher magnitude such as the bloody genocides. What mainly starts as an offline joke about a particular race or population may trigger violence or negative reactions once the information gets online.
Most Of The Media Platforms Are Run By Private Companies
Most of the social media sites are usually run by private companies that are usually profit oriented rather than being focused on ensuring the safety of the online uses by eliminating cases of insults and bullying. The institutions controlling these media sites tend not to conduct inspections on the materials that are being posted by the media site uses. This media sites usually develop a contract relationship that starts with the user agreeing to the terms and conditions of the of the media site while on the other hand, the media site promises to ensure the privacy of information being shared. This means that the friends can only view the information that an individual publishes and if the published information is to be presented in a court of law as evidence of criminality a long process has to be followed to access the actual information (Goldblum & Espelage, p142). This ensures the media users that their data is secure and it cannot be used or accessed by the law enforcement agencies. This tends to increase cases of insulting and bullying since the people who are bullied or insulted do not know the right procedure for reporting these cases the online bullies are not convicted.
From the discussion, it is evident that the media sites can be used to bully, threaten, and insult others without those perpetuating this crime fearing prosecution or punishment. This has been caused certain factors that include; first, the media sites not verifying the details of the account holders thus enabling them to use false information. Secondly, the media sites allow people to be incorporated into other groups without their own will thus put them at risk of being bullied or misused. Thirdly, the media sites promise privacy of information; therefore it becomes hard to prosecute the online offenders. Fourth the increased popularity of the media platform has also contributed to the increased cases of online bullying since it becomes hard to trace the specific individual spreading the insults. The increased number of media bully and insults has particularly been triggered by the increased use of mobile phones and high computer literacy. Fifth, the people also do not consider the media interactions to be real. Therefore they usually go ahead and post insulting messages and assume that the message is just a joke.
Goldblum, Peter, and Dorothy L. Espelage, eds. Youth suicide and bullying: Challenges and strategies for prevention and intervention. Oxford University Press, USA, 2015.
Goldman, Lauren M. "Trending now: the use of social media websites in public shaming punishments." Am. Crim. L. Rev. 52 (2015): 415.
Madden, Mary, et al. "Teens, social media, and privacy." Pew Research Center 21 (2013): 2-86.
Scott, Peter R., and J. Mike Jacka. Auditing social media: A governance and risk guide. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
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