Death threats, rape threats, refugees demonised, EU citizens told to go home, a Muslim Mayor targeted with islamophobia, a Jewish MP bombarded with anti-Semitic threats, young women campaigners called traitors or scum. Political debate online is being poisoned and it has to stop.. Time to start reporting, speaking out, standing up for others who are being targeted. They say evil triumphs when good people do nothing. Time for all of us to do something to stand up for decency, civility and respect for other human beings. Tim Berners-Lee said when he invented the world wide web, "this is for everyone." Lets make sure it stays so.
Reclaim the Internet is not about being the internet police, it is not about making loads of new laws to stifle what is a magnificent, progressive, usually jolly, environment. It is the start of a conversation with the public about what we can do so that all of our voices can be heard. It is a listening project to find out what we can do to limit the kind of behaviour which offline is totally unacceptable. We're trying to make sure that freedom of speech for all the amazing girls and women is not drowned out by faceless avatars. I want spunky women shouting up and facing honest to goodness debate and challenge. Not men with spunky names bullying women in to silence.
Facebook's "real name" policy is in the headlines. The policy limits individuals to one account each and requires that those accounts be held under their "authentic identity." The policy has its advocates and its detractors; their opposing views neatly distil the tension between freedom of expression and privacy that is such a feature of modern life.
Now, every social platform has its own internal universe of slang terms, in-jokes, unreadable acronyms and memes, and the rules of discourse on Twitter are not those of general conversation. This doesn't, however, mean that discussions on social media exist in an online bubble, isolated from the world, and language, at large.
Offended people repeating the very sentences that have offended them will always been intrinsically funny to me. It is a fart in church and I am 12. Frankie Boyle has never made me laugh harder than when his act is regurgitated by an outraged lawyer. I take a great deal of glee in the very specific type of self-unawareness involved...
While the rich and famous debated all that's important for the future of the planet in Davos this week, on UK soil there were some startling reports showing we still have a lot to solve in the present, too. Fifteen years ago, the landmark Macpherson report was set up to look at the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence back in 1993. To mark the anniversary, a new study was published this week, which showed there have been nearly 100 people killed in race-related attacks in this country since the original report.