Social Media’s Greatest Strength and Weakness

Social Media has helped spread work of enlightening ideas with positive messages, but it also gives us insights to the dark corners of the world as well. The internet is a free place which is simultaneously one of its greatest strengths and weaknesses. The fact that organizations like ISIS can create such fear on social media is terrifying, and the fact that there is nothing to stop them from spreading this online terror is equally horrifying. However, these online postings could help provide insights, with correct trackings, of people to look out for and keep a surveillance on.

In my opinion, the negativity is not the greatest issue on these platforms, but it is the anonymity of the platforms. If users could not hide behind usernames they could be tracked for their death threats or looped into a surveillance system for ties with ISIS. However, the lack of identification allows their crimes to go unpunished. We cannot get rid of these online bullies because of free speech, but if we can connect threats with the bullies it does not eliminate free speech and it would put consequences to their actions. The victims face many consequences so it would only make sense for the perpetrators to face consequences as well.

While doxxing does flip the tables, it continues to spread of hate and negativity on the internet. Rather than inspiring people to change or helping them to see another way, it puts people on the defensive and allows them to see negativity from the other side that should be projecting a positive image. As Oluo stated, “doxxing isn’t about accountability, it’s about silencing. Techniques designed to intimidate people out of the public sphere are wrong, no matter who is doing it” (Oluo, “The Ethics of Doxxing”). Silencing the opposition is not the solution, it terminates the conversation and halts progress. Silencing and attacking the opposition does not convince them to join your side, it only makes them loathe you more and creates more enemies to your cause.