There used to be a time when family matters were kept private. Perhaps that wasn’t a healthy attitude – sweeping things under the carpet and keeping it within the family but there were and still are appropriate channels via which people can get assistance and make complaints. Of course, there has always been gossip and gossip newspaper and magazines but by and large, people chose whether they wished to consume this type of frivolous nonsense by actually buying the magazine. Mainstream media, wary of legal action or a slap on the wrist from regulators, also (usually) maintained some element of restraint.
Like many things, social media and the internet has changed all of that.
Today, we see various ways in which accusations may be made, sides taken and people’s reputations ruined via a few choice words tweeted to the world or by posting a few inappropriate pictures to a revenge website. Its trial by social media these days…..
Let’s take the recent Woody Allen case as an example. A couple of tweets and all of a sudden people are screaming for the guy’s head on a plate. I’m not going to get into the details or take sides on this issue but just make the point that I don’t think deliberately tweeting this kind of allegation to the world and encouraging the sheep that follow such things into mass writhings and perhaps in some cases, dubious actions is at all appropriate. Plainly, there is agony in this family but I’m pretty sure its not my business because I cannot possibly know the facts and I cannot possibly be expected to make a judgement. Child abuse is a hideous and terrible allegation but resorting to social media is simply inappropriate at best and maliciously evil at worst. I did do some research prompted by this but I daresay I am one in a minority that didn’t just jump to a conclusion. My research tells me that this is not a black and white case. Again, its not my business and I am not qualified to decide.
In fact, I think what has been done to Woody Allen is the equivalent of an equally ugly trend on the net – ‘revenge porn’. I do have an opinion on this and that is it should be illegal and those that run such sites should face prosecution and personal liability. Those injured by such activity should be able to claim damages from the sites and whoever sent the pictures in.
I was raised in a world where people had rights. They were innocent until proven guilty by a trial of their peers. These days, people are hung drawn and quartered by hysterical masses of no nothings who browse social media and believe that they can and should have an opinion on everything. They are neither qualified nor competent to hold such opinions or make judgements.
I worry and you should also be concerned about Woody Allen. No, I’m not making any suggestions as to his innocence or guilt but to this case as an example of how, under the wrong control, the internet and social media is being primed as a tool to control and direct mob behaviour.
We are the mob.
The question is, who is pulling the strings?