There has been something, which has existed for quite a few years in China (primarily) that is a cause for concern. It comes to mind today as I sign onto FB to do the blog and check in. I am on FB more frequently these days because I actually have to write the blog here and then port it out to the other sites as FB is not compatible with many other blog protocols.
This thing is called the “Human-flesh Search Engine.” What this engine is, is online vigilante justice. It is called “human-flesh” because it starts in forums or on social media sites where someone is either identified as a criminal or just plain does or says something online that is deemed truly offensive (and that truly gets defined in very many ways). People then pick up the trend and begin to search for anything related to this person: posts, personal pages, information. They post online attacks, harass and attempt to disrupt the online presence of the person until the person either apologizes or, if fits, is arrested and charged with whatever crime was committed.
In its favor, human-flesh search engines have brought focus and attention to several cases in which a criminal was going to avoid being arrested and charged. It has called attention to individuals who have shown a cavalier disregard for humanity and chosen to be public about it (ie posting a video spewing hate).
On the downside, these online lynch mobs have also targeted the wrong people through instances of mistaken identity. They have bullied and harassed people for expressing different political opinions then what is perceived as accepted. They have been the source of death threats, often posting encouragements that should the person be seen in real life they should be “beaten within an inch of their life.’
Six of one half a dozen of another right? What is gained through a mass online mobilization through a shared sense of moral outrage not only unites and creates action, but also can bring pressure to bear on police and courts to pursue cases that might “disappear.’
The mob as judge, jury and executioner. The online and often anonymous mob.
With anonymous individuals who feel justified in posting death threats or other threats to a person.
And then the one person who feels justified in taking that off line.
No effort is actually made to address what was the wrong committed and to do the actual work to change the kind of culture and environment and beliefs that may be at play in the instance; its just revenge.
A little bit of blood. An eye for an eye.
Force to force.
So therefore, nothing ever gets changed. Nothing ever happens to prevent a crime from happening again.
Sure, maybe that person may not do it again. But the next person who considers it now knows to hide their actions better. There is no creation of a moral presence, just a moral force.
And any morality based in force, I believe strongly, is nothing but evil in sheep’s clothing.
I do not support vigilantism in any instance or for any reason. If I see that type of posting on my pages on any of the networks I belong to after today, I will block you because I am responsible for what I allow to appear on my pages, under my name, whether I wrote it or not because it implies that I condone it and because my pages are open, any one can have access to them. You may have yours set to private, but what you post is publicly available on my network.
You can have different opinions, you are welcome to express them on my pages, you are welcome to be part of a dialogue; but you may not incite violence for any reason or cause, you may not issue threats, you may not bully or harass for any reason. You can, but I will take the necessary steps to make sure that my pages are not used to promote your evil.
c.2010. Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.