Friday, July 24, 2015

Ending A Climate of Apathy

By David Simms, Senior Contributor
The Global Institute for Cyber Safety and Standards

It is known that people holding high positions in organisations such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google are less likely to have firsthand knowledge of what it is like to be harassed online. This establishes a climate of apathy by these individuals when it comes to making progress in resolving the issue. When one experiences something firsthand it inevitably impacts their perspective driving how and how often they are inclined to think about it.

For instance, the legal director at Scribd, Jason Bentley, changed his views about online harassment after someone he had banned from the platform decided to target his personal life.  The harasser made claims on sites such as Scribd, Craigslist, and Ripoff Report, that Bentley was guilty of raping his own daughter. The obvious result was Bently’s name therefore becoming prominently associated with these claims on Google’s search engine. He took action and pursued the individuals responsible with legal action. He commented in an interview about the ordeal and committed that he will do everything in his power to stop these online abuses against others as well in going forward. However, obviously there are far more people not in positions of power and who cannot afford legal recourse, yet suffer the same. Unfortunately, they become part of the ever growing population that has no way of escaping from their aggressors. One sure way to see positive change occur is for those at the helm of the social media to be subjected to the same relentless obscene nature of what is occurring in their own platforms. Certainly I do not intend to convey I would wish it upon them, rather to make the point that I do believe the destructive consequences of internet abuse and harassment would come to an end quite quickly.