Social Media Has Made Us Hateful and We Think It’s Cool
At a certain point in your life, it may not have occurred to you that it could have been due to peer pressure, FOMO, work policies, or curiosity that led you to a social media platform.
How you got there isn’t much of a big deal and you were probably delighted like I was at just how much of an inexpensive communication tool social media was at first use.
Fast-forward, you now detest it and are really considering not only limiting your time there but completely deleting your life off social media. This is probably after the amounts of hate speech that you faced directly or indirectly.
I get it, it’s happened to me too!
You came onto a platform to share your thoughts, post your travel pics and genuinely share positive vibes but Hey!, Someone you have no idea about, never met( will probably never meet) isn’t really happy about your thoughts, hates your latest update and for whatever reason, they’re throwing some really gross anger and hate at you in the comment section.
It’s the in-thing now
Hate speech on social media is now a cool ‘thing’ that has sometimes been foiled in activism, freedom of speech, and free will. The bullies who have amassed huge followings often love to vilify others without any remorse of what adverse effects it may have on them.
When I had just joined Twitter, it was in the era of ‘clap-backs’, and being ‘savage’ was like the coolest thing on social media at the time. This was probably around the time when Retweets were endorsements..lol.
However, it didn’t really mean much as it was between friends who were simply being petty, going about their banter, and genuinely having some fun. This is not the case anymore.
Right in the palm of our hands, social media has empowered us with the ability to communicate, connect, and share in amazing ways we’d have never imagined. We can simply express thousands of emotions through just an emoji and send love faster than the speed of light.
But with the power to connect, also comes the ability to also disconnect. While everything about social media is seemingly glossy and futuristic, we are headed for tough times as we are often met with antagonizing situations on these platforms that promised to connect us.
There is a wave of unattended-to hate speech that’s taken over social media, it sits there, unprovoked and well-rested in the comments sections, the quotes, and replies. Many users now fear to express their views or share their experiences as they’re likely to meet with backlash and ridicule.
Although social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have their respective policies in regard to the sort of hate speech permitted on their site, it has nonetheless crept through the cracks and found its way into the day to day lives of social media users and continues to flourish on the platforms.
Social media is like a giant home where users who subscribe to similar interests are trying to connect and get along. At least this is what the makers of these apps we are so darned addicted to, promise us in return if we sign-up.
However, at certain extremes social media has in turn robbed the public of its social discourse and has allowed for animosity to flourish. We are not connecting anymore, we are less remorseful and are more resentful and hateful.
The great amount of negativity that has been brewed on some of these social media platforms has forced some people to have low self-esteem and an inferiority complex and some have become depressed.
Because of such hostilities, a number of people have been driven off social media platforms and some have chosen to simply become spectators leaving the bullies to have a field day and make it seem cool.
To be honest, sometimes it’s not even that serious, and other times its just mere banter that is viewed as hate speech. But here’s the thing, you can never really know who will be offended by what you will post and why. Most times it comes off as hate speech if you are misunderstood or simply relay a message that rubs someone else the wrong way even when you didn’t intend to.
This diversity makes social media what it is; a hub of different ethnicities, races, political affiliations, beliefs, opinions, genders all under one roof demanding for relevance and attention. Like how it should be, you shouldn’t be explaining your opinions, travel photos, and whatnot to a million strangers who chose their own understanding or view.
Frankly speaking, this is something you can’t take away from social media. Hate speech like it exists in our day to day life isn’t going away any time soon on social media platforms and we have got to learn how to deal with it.
Most social media users have that killer instinct to win an argument or to defend their beliefs whichever means possible and while at it, they spew loads of hate speech effortlessly.
The thing about social media is someone will find it cool to bring down someone else, demean them or challenge them and find it cool because they’ll get tonne-loads of shares, comments in support, and retweets in return. Some say it’s being ‘woke’ and ‘calling others out’ is the new ‘boujee’ thing to do. Even Obama had something to say about it.
As hate speech continues to flourish on social media, the use of certain platforms becomes very detrimental and harmful to users which kills the whole gist of connecting, communicating, and sharing. However, here’s what you can do in your means to combat hate speech;
Turn off comments
When things turn steamy and the bullies, the opinionated nazis and hate speech ambassadors(sic) decide to spread some of their s***t in your comment section, some social media platforms give you the ability to filter this by turning off comments on your posts
Whereas it’s great to express your opinion, it’s always prudent to do so in a way that isn’t insulting and disrespectful to the other person and that’s an etiquette most people lack.
Report accounts and offensive content
I could swear that this doesn’t work as fast as you expect it to and most people don’t even bother going down this lane at all. When an account is seemingly always spewing hate speech, you can choose to report it or particularly a post that is offensive and the social media company may look into it if it violates any of its policies.
For Facebook groups, you can reach out to the admin of the group and let them know that a post was offensive or hateful content was shared.
As a social media user, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about blocking anyone who is abusive, toxic, or otherwise inappropriate on social media. It’s also completely appropriate to block someone on one if they’re being abusive, hateful and are spreading negative vibes.