Today, there are 1.11 Billion people on Facebook and those without accounts are considered outcasts. In the online community, people have the ability to speech their mind, which is can be very difficult to monitor. When given so much freedom, there will always be those who abuse this right and can in-turn create hostile environments.
Trolls are people who roam social media, making fun of or satirising anything and everything. Sometimes they are funny and sometimes the boundaries are pushed too far. Often these people troll the Internet under aliases or anonymous accounts meaning they are hard to find, report and punish for essentially ‘bullying’.
Women are more than often the targets of trolls but hasn’t the world finally moved on from gender inequality in the twenty-first century? Clearly not! There has been a dramatic increase of an older generation online presence. Many women are taking advantage of the Internet allowing them to speak their minds and have begun blogging on all issues current to themselves and the world. While many find this empowering, others verbalise their hesitations in publicly stating their opinion, which for many is a new concept. This is when trolls attack. Feeding off their vulnerability, these trolls demorilise, insult and often threaten these ‘weak’ minority groups quite often to feel a sense of empowerment and control. Alice Marwick, assistant professor of Communications and Media Studies at New Yorks Fordham commented on the issue stating, “It’s not that men making sexist comments is a new thing. It’s just that they are so prevalent on the Internet and can be so easily accessed by people.”
This issue has proved to be very difficult to address by individual victims and authorities, because everyone is technically entitled to their own opinion. But to what extent should this be allowed and should there be a limit to how far our opinions can go? Many people, in particular young teens, have taken their lives due to being cyber-bullied. These cases of trolling have been so severe yet no one seems to be getting in trouble. How can we continue to let these trolls get away with murder while maintaining our freedom of speech? As social media grows, so does this issue, meaning immediate action must be taken before the online world ruins the real one.