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Does anonymity on the web give people too much freedom to torment others - Essay Example

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Individuals can be anonymous on the web and still be able to be active on social networks like every other subscriber. Since time immemorial, however, there have been ongoing debates on whether anonymity is suitable for all…
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Does anonymity on the web give people too much freedom to torment others
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Does anonymity on the web give people too much freedom to torment others? Anonymity is the of being unknown to most people. Individuals can be anonymous on the web and still be able to be active on social networks like every other subscriber. Since time immemorial, however, there have been ongoing debates on whether anonymity is suitable for all web users. The most recent debate is by critics who argue that anonymity on the web gives people too much freedom to torment others.
Anonymity on the web allows victims of traumatizing experiences to speak publicly about their experiences. This in turn helps discuss and come up with realistic ideas on how to help shy victims. Potential victims are also protected this way. Patients and parents, for instance, can talk about sensitive matters in open forums (Milner). Victims of discrimination and crimes can also speak out anonymously. Nowadays, there are uncountable chat rooms where people get to speak openly of how they feel about their jobs, spouses and even lifestyles. The debate on gender equality, for example, saw many women and men express themselves. Both uncivil and polite responses were accepted in the forum. This made it easy to reach quick decisions by hosts. As Milner claims, Anonymity can empower those who seek consolation and justice to speak out .Victims of rape, for example, can talk about their ordeal without the fear of rejection or shame. On the other hand, anonymous people can intimidate other web users or even go as far as stalking them. Bias motivated stalking and sexual invasion of privacy are a major menace that come with anonymity. The two interfere with other peoples employment and general lifestyle.
People get a chance to be heard on the web through Anonymity. Before the invention of the internet, only influential people were fortunate enough to be listened to. Anonymity also ensures the protection of Democracy and civilian rights. Discussing political matters without anonymity would not be possible. This is because politicians are very influential people and therefore common individuals would not risk confrontation by expressing their views. People get to know what other people think concerning particular issues. On the other hand, people can take advantage and misuse their freedom of expression to hurt and threaten others on the web, an act called trolling. Trolling can be offensive, disturbing and at times shocking.
Anonymity on the web only gives web users enough freedom to express themselves. Anonymity does not give people freedom to torment others. It is a privilege that needs not be interfered with. As discussed above, anonymity allows people to discuss traumatizing events openly and feel free to express themselves on the web. Trolling is one of the most common flaws of anonymity that can be easily reduced. Intermediaries of websites where trolls post comments can revoke their anonymity (Dooling). Google plus, for instance, introduced the real-name policy whereby every subscriber has to use their real name. This helps reduce the risk of cyber crime. Website owners can also remove abusive terms that go against their traditions and ideals. Forensic experts can also track trolling. In the case where trolling turns into cyber harassment or cyber stalking, the law should mediate (Milner). There are several ways of controlling cyber crimes and several other ways of punishing individuals who torment others on the web. Anonymity on the web is, therefore, a right thing that should be considered by web users.
References
Citron, D. (n.d.). Free Speech Does Not Protect Cyberharassment. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/08/19/the-war-against-online-trolls/free-speech-does-not-protect-cyberharassment
Coleman, G. (n.d.). Anonymity Online Serves Us All. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/08/19/the-war-against-online-trolls/anonymity-online-serves-us-all
Dooling, A. (n.d.). Don’t Identify by Names Online but by Knowledge. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/08/19/the-war-against-online-trolls/dont-identify-by-names-online-but-by-knowledge
Milner, R. (n.d.). Dialogue Is Important, Even When It’s Impolite. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/08/19/the-war-against-online-trolls/dialogue-is-important-even-when-its-impolite Read More
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