Bye bye toys. Hello internet.

Bye bye toys. Hello internet.

Facebook is examining ways to allow children under the age of 13 to use its services. Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s boss, said that he believes children education should start early.

Do you think social networks are a form of education?
What is the right age to set a Facebook account, according to you?

Oana.

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How much can your virtual life affect your real life?

In the previous post, my colleague Diana was saying that social media is something that got completely out of control and is now impossible to monitor. I totally agree with her statement.

The list of most famous social network sites counts 203 different ones, such as: delicious (22,000,000  registered users), Facebook (more than 1 bn registered users), Flickr (32,000,000 registered users), Foursquare (20,000,000 registered users), LinkedIn (160,000,000 registered users), Twitter (more than 500,000,000 registered users) etc. Furthermore, according to Dr. Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbyllying Research Center, 20% of this online population are offenders.

Is it ethical to ignore the cyber bulling when affects reputation, career and personal life?

Charlotte Dawson, Australian Top Model and host of the TV Show Australia’s Next Top Model ended in hospital after Twitter attack. The war started after the model tracked down one alleged Twitter hater: Tanya Heti, which was suspended from her mentoring job at Melbourne’s Monash University.

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(* Charlotte Dawson describes Twitter abuse. on TV)

Charlotte than appeared on the Nine Network’s A Current Affair and Ten Network’s The Project to speak out about Twitter bullying and how she dealt with it.  After the night of her TV appearence she was targeted by hundreds Twitter users receiving messages such as:

“neck yourself you filthy s***”

“please put your face in a toaster”

“please hand yourself promptly”

“It’s a very good thing that you cannot breed”

“how the f*** did you become a model”

Users are not taking this seriously. “Kids get the idea that the online environment is almost like Las Vegas — what happens online is going to stay online,” said Deborah Temkin, Research and Policy Coordinator for Bullying Prevention Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education. Users feel free to express their own opinion online because they know that they are not going to be held responsible for their online behaviour.

How can you ignore when somebody sais those things to you? Keep in mind that we are not talking about one or two tweets…but hundreds.

Would you be able to ignore hundreds of people attacking you without a reaction?

Oana.

Feeding the trolls – a good idea?

Last month Facebook has announced that they currently have more than 1 BILION users. I see social media at this point as something that has got completely out of control and which is now impossible to monitor. Everything has advantages and disadvantages in this life and alongside those mammoth pluses social media brings to us, like practicing liberty of speech, fast traffic of information or global communicating and networking, there are also minuses and one of them is trolling.

The most obvious and most publicized trolling cases are those that are connected with public figures. In my view the fact that celebrities are trolled is just something that comes along with the fame and as long as they put themselves out there this risk is fairly logical. Nobody can please everybody; it is as simple as that. And yes, they receive comments and messages that are offensive and full of hate or envy but I consider that they should just be ignored or blocked/spammed. Sometimes celebrities receive death threats, especially if they seem based on real information, an extra safety measure is more than enough. But celebrity trolling is just something that happens on a daily basis.

One more thing that is fairly known about trolls is the fact they seek attention. I see this as another reason to just ignore them. And when it comes to EXTREME cases, when trolling has suicidal consequences, more factors come into place. Going back to Ruxandra’s example, where were Megan Meier’s parents? What exactly could the police have done when her reputation was already damaged? Even when they caught her troll, Drew, she was not even convicted.  So there you go!

Most trolling cases are based identity theft, therefore the only thing social media can do is to make more secure creation of accounts, which is fairly complicated already, but I see monitoring as a mission impossible. Here is a funny preview of how easy it is to access your true identity through Facebook! http://www.takethislollipop.com/ 

What do you think?

by Diana

Social media becoming UNsocial: Trolling

How many of you are aware of the term “trolling”? The “digitalisation” era has brought, together with its innovations, a couple of drawbacks. And one of them is internet trolls: “an abusive or obnoxious user who uses shock value to promote arguments and disharmony in online communities”. Named after the wicked troll creatures of children’s tales, an internet troll is someone who stirs up drama and abuses their online anonymity by purposely sowing hatred, bigotry, racism, mysogyny, or just simple squabbling between others. Trolls are everywhere (blog sites, game chats, news sites, forums) as they enjoy being seen and receiving attention.

In most of the cases, trolls enjoy making fun of or judging other people, as the computer screen protects their identity and they always remain virtually untouchable. I truly believe that the best approach to trolls is ignoring them and just pressing the “spam” button; but what happens when their online activity put other people’s lives in danger?

Trolling is part of an international phenomenon that includes cyber bullying. One of the first cases took place in the US state of Missouri in 2006, when 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide after being bullied online. The bully, Lori Drew, was a middle-aged neighbour who had set up a MySpace account to win – and later betray – her trust. Drew was acquitted of unauthorised computer use in 2009 due to concerns that a conviction would criminalise false online identities.

So, my question to you is: who should be responsible for tackling bullying? Is it the Police or the social networking sites where all these comments are posted? Considering the fact that there are cases when people lose their lives because of trolling, the phenomenon should become a criminal offence in its own right and at present, the arrest category of “internet trolling” does not exist.

The Communications Act 2003, which governs the internet, email, mobile phone calls and text messaging is sometimes used to catch the worst serial offenders. Under section 127 of the Act, it is an offence to send messages that are “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” whether those targeted receive the message or not. But police seem reluctant to implement the Act and only two people were jailed for trolling last year.

From my perspective, Police and the social networking sites should work together, as online anonymity is quite difficult to handle. Police should have the power to force internet providers to hand over the details of trolls and Facebook and Twitter should be made to take down any troll comments.

Current research shows that 1 in 3 people are bullied online. I strongly believe that we should start finding solutions and addressing this problem. What do you think it would work? Online moderators? Better social media policies? New laws?

Tell us your view.

Ruxandra

Media and Reputation

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There are many examples out there in which the media takes a story, frames it one way or the other and presents it to the public. Some of the most popular and recent ones might be Megan Stammers and Jeremy Foster, the teacher and the under aged student that ran together for a holiday in France; another might be Jimmy Savile’s allegations that he had been abusing children during his life, and many more.

Jimmy Savile was a UK national pride whom is now accused of heavy sexual perversion. Worse than that? He can’t even defend himself anymore and everybody forgot to mention all the amazing stuff he has done in his life. This is how a reputation gets distroyed forever and the media is the presenter of the story. There are many sides to an issue. Sometimes the media’s framing over a story completely destroyed innocent people’s or organisations’ reputations, some other times the media was the one that helped solving a case. Problem is: when is it ethical and when is it not?

Perhaps, in a black and white world, the answer will be that it is not ethical to present a story to the public that has not been officially proven. But the best way to go around it would probably be to present an issue AS IT IS to the public, without any human bias, to present fairly and balanced all sides of the story and to wait for the official conclusion. But even like this there is a high chance that somebody’s reputation can be heavily stained, journalists are people and readers have the freedom of having their own opinion at the end of the day.

The use of media in such cases is sometimes useful, like finding some ones whereabouts, helping catch a fugitive of the law and so on. Completely forbidding the appearance of cases like this in the media, not only that does not apply with the liberty of speech but also it cuts from the power of it in situations in which it can be actually useful.

Therefore the best conclusion here would be to present a story as it is, without framing it or showing only one side of the issue. If there are allegations that have not been proven yet, they should be called so and the facts presented in the media should be presented without human bias and without any personal conclusions or opinions attached to it.

When it comes to PR though, reputation management would not be as exciting if the media would not stain reputations at the smallest gossip. On the other hand the media is not only a channel through which reputations can be destroyed but it goes both ways – it is also the one that can restore it. And in the end…we now have social media…any laws against the freedom of speech on ANY issue would be USELESS!


by Diana