Otherwise known as ‘The One Where Andy Thought of the Title Before the Content’.
On first inspection, I think it’s obvious that there is a massive link between this topic on ethics and how some of the strands of discussion developed during topic 2. In my reflection article I touched on the subject of Twitter trolling, a subject which this Guardian article featured in the starter post for this topic discusses in detail. Therefore, in the spirit of coherency, I thought it might be nice to continue with the theme. I decided to create a Powtoon to set up the issue I’ve chosen, and to add a little spice to this week’s output!
The link here to educational uses of social media is the Mary Beard example quoted in the above video. Unless we can find a way of dealing with the issue of trolling, the problem is going to get larger and larger until any user with a large number of followers will be subjected to this abuse. As shown, women with great intelligence can often threaten men who have little, so women aiming to educate from their Twitter accounts might be at the greatest risk of having their physical appearance picked apart and then horrible threats made to them.
Why do the trolls even do it? Well, an article from the Psychology journal ‘Personality and Individual Differences’ (fantastically called ‘Trolls just want to have fun’) suggests that trolling was linked to Machiavellianism, psychopathy and sadism, which does, as the title suggested, say that these trolls are doing it because they find causing offence and hurting people to be enjoyable activities. Unfortunately, that makes them harder to stop.
So, what are we going to do? It’s the kind of question that until you start thinking about it sounds hard, and when you’ve thought about it, sounds even harder. This Guardian article (I’ve been reading the Guardian too much, it seems) suggests a large number of ways of dealing with these trolls, but unfortunately every single one of them met with cons as well as pros. I think the lesson in that is that we need to tackle it from multiple angles – While the con for “report abusive tweets to police” is “police have to balance conflicting demands on their time: is a rape threat on Twitter more urgent than a real-life stalker or online fraud?”, I’d say that if we haven’t got enough police to deal with the issues, that’s more a recruitment error than a con. We do need these online police teams to stop those out to verbally abuse and attack the great and the good, and these trolls need to be brought to justice.