The Dark Side of Freedom of Speech

People often consider it is getting better as we enter the next phase of the Internet, aka big data, but, there are a significant amount of people trolling around and having fun being so-called Internet haters.

A freelance writer, Amanda Hess, recently wrote about how women were not welcome on the Internet. She shared her stories of being life-threatened by haters on Twitter. Meanwhile, female public figures like the Duchess of Cambridge, Hilary Mantel, and Mary Beard have been sharing similar terrifying experiences on the Internet. Life threats and sexual harassments can be easily circulated and accumulated because of the Internet, and they are as harmful and painful as physical abuses.

Most public figures are often attacked by haters, and women are not the center of the issue. However, behind those extreme examples, there are more to this event. Words that sound civil can also discriminate gender equality. Fix the Family, a religious online activist blog, posted an article arguing why women should not be sent to colleges. Despite how ridiculous it sounded like, Fix the Family certainly abused their privilege from Freedom of Speech. Their words did not involve life threats nor sexual harassments, but they have been stabbed on women just as hard. Neither is their pro gender inequality attitude humanitarian, nor is it Christian at all.

While hate speech is outlawed and starts to become more apparent and more of a social issue, how each individual cyber resident can police our online environment and create a healthy online society remains unanswered and needs urgent attentions.


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