Friday, April 18, 2014

Talk Or Walk?

By Abigail Clarke: Contributing Content Blogger 

I've a question. Is social media talking the talk without walking the walk? Looking at one of the largest social media websites on the planet, YouTube expresses they are vigilant and proactive when it comes to cyber harassment on their site. They explain that their users express and share opinions on all sorts of topics but that sometimes these expressions can become over-passionate. YouTube says it comes down to simple respect and that the simple rule of thumb should be: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it on YouTube. This site claims to take cyber harassment very seriously but also says it will not remove all negative or mean videos about others. They, like all other social media platforms, must walk a fine line between what falls under free speech and what constitutes unlawful harassment. One of the criteria they use is to determine whether an account is dedicated to harassing a particular user or the community at large. If it can be clearly shown this is the case, YouTube says it will terminate the harassers account. The problem with this is that not all harassment may be interpreted by YouTube personnel to be harassment, when it clearly is to the individual targeted. 

It occurs to me, bottom line, all social media has to do more than talk the talk. If they really have an interest in protecting social media users then they have to walk the walk. For all their reassuring words, I'm not seeing much weight resulting from what should be their actions.