6. Social Media & Cyberbullying [MDU119]

Can you hold social media sites responsible for cyberbullying?

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‘Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass or intimidate others in a deliberate, abusive manner with degrading or threatening content – either through email, text message, instant message, or on social media forums like Facebook and Twitter.’ (Charles, 2014)

Cyberbullying is most heard about with teenagers and youth in general, an astounding amount of teen suicides have been linked to cyberbullying. The problem is that people become ‘keyboard warriors’, things that they would never have said to someones face suddenly seem okay because they’re hiding behind a screen.

‘Regardless of the speaker’s liability, however, social media websites cannot be held liable for the posting of this “hate speech.” Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, providers of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by others are immune from liability for words spoken by others using the service.’ (Manor, 2010)

Free Speech. This is something used very often on social media to justify people saying awful things to one another. Unfortunately social media sites/site owners cannot be blamed for the hate speech of people that they have absolutely no connection to. Social media has impacted society in a negative way regarding bullying, people don’t feel as accountable when they bully someone online.

So in conclusion, no, you cannot hold social media sites accountable for cyberbullying. There’s so many users on these sites that it would be impossible to control and even if Facebook was to take drastic measures, there’s always thousands more platforms waiting to take it’s place.

References:

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