Give a man a mask, and he’ll tell you the truth.
– Oscar Wilde.
Sometimes the human race terrifies me. There seems to be some nasty characteristics that most of us harbour. These are very evident across multiple social groups, communities and cultures. Most of us recognise the negativity we may feel or think towards others as immoral or almost evil, so will push it aside, forget about it and simple let it go.
There seems to be something inside of people that enjoys the failings and suffering of others. It’s horrible really, isn’t it?
I question whether hate is human nature. The whole ‘if I’m going to suffer, everyone else should also suffer’ mentality. It’s like we get a kick out of bringing each other down a peg or two.
I know something interesting about lobsters. You don’t have to put a lid on the pot when you cook female lobsters, does anybody know why? Well, when you cook a pot of male lobsters–when they realize they’re in this pot of boiling water, they all start totally freaking out, they’re like ‘fuck we gotta get out of here!’ so they start making these little ladders and helping each other get out of the pot so you have to put a lid on the pot to keep them inside. But female lobsters, you don’t have to put a lid on the pot. Because once they realize they’re in a pot of boiling water they all just start grabbing each other and holding each other, they’re like, “If I’m gonna die, we’re all gonna die,” none of them wants to let any of the other ones get out of the pot, it’s a real shame, isn’t it?
– The L Word.
The power of anonymity online
The true colours of a human can really show when hidden behind a cloak of anonymity. This is specifically evident on social media websites or online communities. Take YouTube, for example. Fuck me – people can be disgusting in the comments there! They send threats of violences, call people fat, ugly, make racist remarks. They tell parents that their kids are retarded, that they are abusing them, that they are not fit parents, that they wish they were dead.
It’s called deindividuation by psychologist. Basically, when in a mask, uniform or a group, you stop seeing yourself as an individual and don’t see others that way and fail to see how you’re hurting someone.
It’s so much easier to be nasty or brutally honest with somebody when you think you’ll never become face to face with that person. A person would be much more likely to call somebody a ‘fucking ugly bastard that needs to die’ behind a screen name, than to their face.
The whole Rebecca Black/Friday saga was just horrific. For those that don’t know – Rebecca Black as a girl who’s mother paid for her to have a song recorded and a video made as a birthday present. The song ended up going viral and was known as the worst song in history. It wasn’t a great song, but she didn’t deserve the hate and bullying she was subjected to. The 13/14 year old was subjected to hate mail and death threats. Comments such as:
‘I hope you cut yourself and I hope you get an eating disorder so you’ll look pretty and I hope you go cut and die.’
All because they didn’t like her song.
What on earth!
The good thing is that the internet is trying to do something about this anonymity problem to stop such nasty comments and hate online. With the increase of idenity-centric social networks, we’re often robbed of our opportunity to pretend to be someone else and forced to take responsibility or accountability for our actions.
When YouTube forced commenters into Google Plus, there was uproar. Concerned users cried out about their lack of personal identity and privacy. Google forced people to comment under their real name, rather than a username and a lot of people hated it- it sparked a petition to try and get the old comment system back.
Now you can easily sign-in to websites and networks using sign in plug-ins such as Facebook and Twitter. Another way of taking away a persons anonymity online. One click and you’re signed up as your Facebook name.
Is taking away a persons invisible cloak also taking away their right to privacy and their freedom of speech? Or is it just forcing them to be accountable for their actions?