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How Can We Forestall an Abuse of the Power that Social Media Grants Us?

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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi Feb 22, 2022
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The Problem
One of the best things about social media is that it ensures everyone has a say. Because of this, people can put pressure on governments, organizations, and even individuals to get the concessions and changes they desire. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this sort of power, which is that it can easily degenerate into an online version of a real-life mob with an unquenchable thirst.
Example
West Ham football player, Kurt Zouma, gained the limelight recently for abusing his cat. He lost his Adidas sponsorship and was fined two weeks wages to the tune of £250,000. However, that wasn't enough, with many insisting he loses his job, too. In my opinion, that would have been a disproportionate action. But there is no denying that it could have happened, especially given the pressure the club faced in the wake of the scandal.
Call to Action
How can we establish a reasonable consensus on issues that dominate the public space like the one described above and ensure that people get commensurate punishments for their misdeeds, thereby ensuring we use the power that social media grants us in a conscientous and judicious manner?
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Creative contributions

Implement a "responsibility" tag

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Feb 28, 2022
Idea
Implement a "responsibility" tag on social media which would specifically, uniquely, and undoubtedly connect the person's online identity with his/her online actions in a blockchain form.
Why
  • To make people responsible for their actions in places where it matters (public online space).
  • To help people understand that not the whole internet is a playground for their disrespectful, hateful, or irresponsible behavior.
  • To teach people that their actions have consequences.
  • To remind people to think twice before insulting someone, lying, or sharing conspiracies.
  • To enforce the law if the situation escalates.
Additional information
A "responsibility" tag would actually be a set of features, information and regulation that
  • track user online activity on "public" sites which agree to allow it (collect users' IP addresses, match them with accounts visited from it, doesn't allow IP tunnels, ...); user would beaware of this
  • detects "bad" behavior (words of hate, conspiracies, illegal content sharing, sharing of private information, etc.)
  • help people learn online behaviour, control their online communication, avoid conflicts or words of hate
  • allow authorities to access the records on someone if they break the law "online", someone reports them multiple times or their actions have dangerous or serious consequences
The limits should be set, but the law must be applied and respected even in online environments
I was inspired by the online piracy. Many people are nowadays being detained or pay high fines for selling materials protected by intellectual rights. It's a financial problem and the authorities are fighting it. But what about social media and it's effect on people? What about people hurting people online? As you mentioned, man abused his cat and got heavily punished. The punishment was disproportionate, because even a simple acts of good voluntary work with animals, words of sincere sorry and some time in charity organizations dealing with animals could have gotten Kurt out of the problem. He could have showed that he was an idiot and that he is sorry, but he didn't get the chance.
Many people use Internet to feel strong, embarrass other people, share private information, share hateful comments, or do anything they are not capable doing in real life. We should change this by making the Internet, or at least the social media, an environment where your actions have consequences, just like in real life. In the above-mentioned scenario, all the people that commented ugly things on the Kurt's video should also feel how strong were their words. They should be reminded that their acts have consequences and could result in runied lives and that they should be careful when commenting on the other people videos, someones successes or sharing their thoughts on somebodies weight.
What do you think? Is there something you would do better? Can we create a responsibility tag for the real actions?
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Finding the distinction between being morally right and appearing to be morally right

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Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Mar 08, 2022
I think the root of the problem goes really deep here. we live in a time where your online activity is under heavy scrutiny from your peers, so I think everyone exists in this high-stress state where they need to constantly assert their own moral "rightness'.
Now, the only way to do this is to participate in moral issues like animal rights, gender equality and anything else that the current society supports. This isn't a problem, it's a good thing holding people accountable. The problem is the scale and intent.
SCALE
There's a saying, too many cooks spoil the broth. It loosely applies here. If only the relevant people participated, it would be ok. You would do something wrong and due action would follow, kind of like the office of human resources in a company. But the relevant people don't always participate and justice isn't always served. so the internet is forced to take action. People who actually care go first and then everyone else comes along to show that they in fact do support this issue. This puts a lot of pressure on companies to take just action by numbers alone, It was good when it started but now everyone is over-enthusiastic about canceling everything no matter the issue.
INTENT
Think of it as social advocacy for self-defense. Everyone knows that they could be the next object the public chooses to cancel so they try to stack as many social causes under their belt as they can so in the event they slip up they can always say "How can I be morally wrong if I did this and this and this?" they then proceed to list all the causes they championed. Everyone is actively a defendant and witness in a trial that has not even begun yet. Fredrick neichze back in the 1880s worried about what would happen once the traditional values and morals were outpaced by the enlightenment, and cancel culture is the answer.
SOLUTION
The solution would be either to create someone or an institution to check the "rightness" of events as they occur or find a way to reassure people that events out of their control are in fact out of their control. Another solution would be to debunk the thought that the good you do has consequence over the bad you think you will eventually do. Everyone needs to stop trying to assert their moral rightness and instead just be morally right and I have no idea how to make that happen. Ideas?

[1]https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/feb/07/political-message-nietzsche-god-is-dead#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20the%20most%20serious,that%20the%20body%20is%20free.

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 months ago
Agreed. The most important thing is teaching them that simply talking (this is mostly criticizing and complaining) on social media will not help anybody.
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