Category:  Clients

Anonymous Attacks on the Internet

Where does the line cross between anonymous attacks on the Internet and first amendment issues?

It seems that the Internet has given rise to anonymous attacks. What I mean by “attacks” is when people verbally abuse and attack another person on the Internet. What makes it anonymous is when the receiving person doesn’t know the abuser’s name, face or really anything about him or her. This isn’t done on my social networking sites where it’s easy to see that someone posted a comment because their name and/or picture is attached to that comment, i.e. Facebook or Twitter. However, what about Youtube comments or comments left on blogs, or comments left on news sites like FOXNEWS or CNN or Huffington Post? Even if someone has to have a “name” to register a comment, they can make a name, or in the case of Youtube, make up a profile that excludes any information about that person.

This leads to many hateful, racist, defamatory comments on Internet by these anonymous users. If there is any doubt, check any popular Youtube video comments or an article on CNN. They are filled with these anonymous attacks. These attacks and comments happen everyday and there is no way to police these hateful remarks. That said, Youtube and other sites where these sorts of comments are widespread and daily do have an option of deleting these comments right away. They can have moderators or administrators that look out for these types of comments and attacks and delete them when they see them. The question is: Is that a violation of the attacker’s first amendment right to free speech? Don’t they have the right to say what they want under the first amendment? Isn’t free speech allowed?

The way I see it is that those kinds of comments in real life are often reported and investigated by law enforcement personnel as abuse and fighting words. In the workplace, these kinds of abuses and attacks can be considered hate speech and a person can be fired for that. I suggest that there should be moderators that delete those comments on the Internet. If someone wants to have a lively debate about a controversial subject, that is completely fine, but there is no need to throw in hate speech and verbal abuse at the other people debating on the Internet. Just like in real life, debate does not need to have those kinds of comments. Finally, nothing goods comes from these anonymous attacks.

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