Twitter — The power of pain hidden behind anonymity

The social platform Twitter, like other ones as Facebook or Instagram, allows their users to post publications with almost an absolute freedom of expression. As everything, this has its positive part and its negative one. Let’s see what has happened in the following case.

Last Monday, 23rd of January, the singer and Spanish model Bimba Bosé died after a long fight against cancer. Hundreds of users used the social networks to honour and to say goodbye to the androgynous muse with thousands of messages of gratefulness and fondness. I decided to surf through my timeline to read some of them and, unfortunately and for my surprise, I found myself submerged on an offensive and wretched wave of comments against Bosé’s family, written by the hand of those users who are hidden behind anonymity. Thus, the moving farewell message that his uncle Miguel Bosé wrote on Twitter — “Buen viaje Bimba, mi cómplice, mi compañera, mi amor, mi hija querida. Guíame.” (Good trip Bimba, my partner, my companion, my love, my dear daughter. Guide me.)— was stained with heartless tweets to attack her niece’s dignity.

From insults about Bimba’s serious disease to religious allusions because of the sexual orientation of his uncle. Here you have some of the reactions in response of Bosé’s tweet (I have tried to do a translation as accurate as possible):

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“Good trip? The only trip she will do is to three meters underground with her putrid body.”

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“Hey, @BoseOfficial, where did they throw the amputated boob of that bitch called Bimba Bosé? I want to masturbate and cum in this piece of cancer.”

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“Hey, queer old man @BoseOfficial, where will they bury that bitch? I want to rape her cancerous body.”

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“@BoseOfficial, you should be sorry for your homosexuality, God has punished Bimba because she was lesbian, BE SORRY, BE AFRAID OF GOD!!!”

As you have just seen, his tweet has been answered with different types of monstrosities. Now my question is: Why? Why a social net allows these trolls to publish with no censure, no limits, with no respect? The problem is that Twitter acts before harassment and crimes in a reactivated way, that means, the platform hopes that its users are the ones that report first. In this way, unlike Facebook, Twitter has a reputation of being an open field for abusers. Twitter’s technical support has promised that this task would be done by “human beings” instead of “algorithms”. But the evidence is that its filters are easily surpassed and, for an abuser that uses “disposable accounts”, these punitive measures are unfortunately useless.