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Social Media and Bullying

There is no question that the internet and social media are amazing technologies that make it possible for people to communicate with the outside world. As technology advances across the world, billions of people can access social media from any gadget that can connect to the Internet. Facebook is one of the most widely used social media sites. Facebook can be readily used as a social media platform for anybody who has a smartphone that can easily connect to the internet. A user creates an account on the Facebook site, and he/she is free to publish any information and to communicate with others who are on their friends’ list. Despite the benefits that Facebook has when it comes to connecting people, there are individuals who use the platform in a negative manner, and this is mainly regarding bullying other users be it their friends or strangers who are in the same Facebook group with them. Facebook has highly promoted the acts of bullying to users due to the lack of fear of punishment by the perpetrators.
First, Facebook gives users the permission to bully any other user without the fear of penalty due to the lack of a quick response medium by the company when any acts of bullying have been reported. This is due to the long process that can be involved. For instance, someone might report the issue of bullying in Africa, and by the time Facebook responds and takes action through contacting the authorities in specific place in Africa, the bully might have already removed the comment or even deactivated their account. Hence, the slow response allows for the bullying activities towards others users (Chapin 710).
Facebook promotes the acts of continuous bullying to users because for one to post or delete anything from their account, they do not require permission from Facebook. This guarantees users the freedom of expression that allows them to be engaged in behaviors that might hurt other people as they might be acts of bullying such insults. When it comes to posting and deleting comments, pictures, and other related materials, the user has the authority. Thus, they might decide to post a comment on their wall that is targeting another user, or they might post on the targeted user’s wall, and this will cause harm to the targeted individual. Also, after one has posted the inflammatory posts, they might end up deleting it after they have realized that they might be reported, and thus making it hard for the bullies to be caught due to lack of evidence. This makes them act in any manner that they want because they know very well that in the end, they can avoid any form of punishment or penalty (Anderson, Mary and Catherine 285).
The problem of posting and deleting without permission has been further reinforced by Mann (260) who indicates that even though the defamatory image or statement is removed, it has already achieved its purpose of hurting or threatening the other user.
Facebook allows for the bullying of users due to the creation of accounts that are anonymous, and this is because there is the failure by the company when it comes to the verification of the authenticity of the personal information that is given by the users. The assertions that are held by Snakenborg, Van Acker, and Gable (90) show that through allowing for the formation of the anonymous accounts, Facebook allows for bullying since it is hard to verify who the bully is and this is known by the bullies who have registered with fake information. This is because all the personal information that they have given cannot be verified, and thus making the bullies to be fearless and continue with their acts of bullying. This is a finding that has been further reinforced by Chapin (723) who indicated that they anonymous status that is given to the users of Facebook gives them an assurance that when they engage in acts of bullying such as threats and insults, they cannot be easily identified. Thus, making them act with fear of being punished.
Facebook encourages the bullying to any other user because of lack of a proper way to apprehend the perpetrators. It is difficult to apprehend the bullies’ because there is an agreement that exists between the user and Facebook and this is regarding the privacy agreement. The agreement indicates that Facebook will ensure that the user information remains private and thus it makes it hard for the authorities to know who the users are due to the privacy contract since Facebook can refuse to give the personal details of the user. Also, the privacy contract means that Facebook will not be thoroughly involved in the scrutiny of published information because of the privacy that is involved. Thus, making it easier for the bullying acts to continue as well as making the bullies to grow fearless of the consequences of their actions (Anderson, Mary and Catherine 283).
Facebook creates an opportunity for bullying of other users because one can be added to groups without their consent. The provisions of Facebook allows an individual to be added to any group by their friends and thus they can be exposed to unnecessary bullying. Adding one to a group only requires that the person who is adding others to be aware of the username and thus there is no need to ask for permission in some of the cases. This is one of the strategies that has been used by bullies and more so those who are in one school. The bullies gather information about the individual whom they want to bully and then add them to such groups where they get bullied (Snakenborg, Van Acker and Gable 92).
Furthermore, once one has been added into a group by their bullies, they might not know immediately that is if they have no immediate access to the internet. Hence, when they log onto Facebook, they find that they have already been bullied to levels that they cannot believe. This is among the reasons as to why there are some cases of suicide among young people as a result of the issue of cyberbullying. This concept contributes to the lack of fear of punishment in that after an individual has been bullied the group can always be deleted, and this is after it has already achieved its purpose of hurting a user (Snakenborg, Van Acker and Gable 92).
Facebook has the tendency to neglect some of the issues that are that it has in its policy that governs that users such as ensuring that there is no use of Facebook in a negative manner. Bullying is one of the issues that is negative when it comes to the use Facebook. Facebook tends to fail to end such acts as it is not majorly involved in the routine investigations of bullying by itself unless a case has been reported. Hence, if bullied person fails to report due to lack of knowledge on how to do it, Facebook as a company will not be able to know about it. This makes its easier for the bullies to continue with their activities without any fear of being arrested or facing some tough consequences (Luxton, June and Fairall 196).
Facebook has encouraged its users to take screenshots of the bullying comments, pictures, and posts which are not sufficient evidence because the screenshots can be edited and even be created by use of the software. This makes it hard for the issue of cyberbullying to be managed by the company and this is because the screenshots can be disputed in court due to the lack of a tangible evidence as it can be argued that the victim made it up. This has been able to see the continuation of bullying acts since the bullies cannot be arrested due to lack tangible evidence can be obtained if they have been able to delete the comments that they had posted before (Manuel 219).
It is evident based on the information that has been captured in the preceding paragraphs that indeed Facebook has various loopholes that have contributed to the cases of users who are being bullied by other users. This is an issue of great concern, and there is the need to ensure that there are strict measures that are employed. One of such measures according to Cassim (12) is ensuring that there is a twenty-four-hour hotline number for users all over the world to be calling just like 911. This will eliminate the challenges to do with the slow response by the Facebook team when it comes to access to cases of reported bullying. It might allow the company to have a quick response even before the bullies are aware of that they are reported. Hence, catching them before they delete their posts and comments that were inflammatory
The paper has been able to apply the use of evidence in supporting the thesis statement. Based on the analysis that has been done, it is clear that Facebook has enhanced bullying through; lack of a quick response medium, the creation of accounts that are anonymous, lack of a proper way to apprehend the perpetrators, users having the ability to post or delete anything from their account without Facebook’s permission, individuals being added to groups without their consent, Facebook having the tendency to neglect some of the issues that are in its policy such as use of Facebook properly and Facebook encouraging the use screenshots of the bullying comments, pictures, and posts which are not sufficient evidence because the screenshots can be edited and even be created by use of a software. However, there are measures that can be adopted by Facebook such has having a global hotline number that works efficiently just like 911.
Works Cited
Anderson, Jenn, Mary Bresnahan, and Catherine Musatics. "Combating weight-based cyberbullying on Facebook with the dissenter effect." Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 17.5 (2014): 281-286. Print.
Cassim, Fawzia. "Formulating Adequate Legislation to Address Cyber-Bullying: Has the Law Kept Pace With Advancing Technology?" South African Journal of Criminal Justice 26.1 (2013): 1-20. Print.
Chapin, John. "Adolescents and cyber bullying: The precaution adoption process model." Education and information technologies 21.4 (2016): 719-728. Print.
Luxton, David D., June Jennifer D. and Fairall Jonathan M. "Social Media and Suicide: A Public Health Perspective." American Journal of Public Health, 102.S2 (2012): S195-S200. Print.
Mann, Bruce L. "Social Networking Websites–A Concatenation of Impersonation, Denigration, Sexual Aggressive Solicitation, Cyber-Bullying or Happy Slapping Videos." International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 17.3 (2009): 252- 267. Print.
Manuel, Natasha Rose. "Cyber-Bullying: Its Recent Emergence And Needed Legislation To Protect Adolescent Victims." Loy. J. Pub. Int. L. 13 (2011): 219. Print.
Snakenborg, John, Van Acker Richard and Gable Robert A. "Cyberbullying: Prevention And Intervention To Protect Our Children And Youth." Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth 55.2 (2011): 88-95. Print.

July 24, 2021

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