“You wouldn’t say it in person, so why would you say it on the internet?”

Identity-based discrimination is such a prominent issue in society, but really difficult to manage when we enter the online world.

The emergence of participatory culture has created a plethora of free speech and free-to-flow content and information under the guise of practical anonymity. You can virtually do anything, be anyone, say anything. These are the perks of anonymity. Flip the coin and see that the ability of the Internet to mask identity facilitates all manner of horrendous discrimination, ironically based on identity itself.

I don’t want to focus on one specific issue of identity-based discrimination because I personally believe they are all of equal importance.

However, to explore this online habit further I want to dabble into the phenomena that is ‘trolling’…

This is a cute troll…


This is not…


Basically, to troll, equates to being an asshole. Varying in severity, trolls target anyone based on anything but it is most common to see a troll attacking someone online on the basis of their identity.

Consider the implications of real life abuse, measurable nonetheless, and then compare them to the consequences received by those who cyberbully (the only conviction that’s been upheld sentenced someone for 18 weeks in jail, of which they only served 9)…

What’s probably most interesting is that Burton brings about a hard point to argue, that “Facebook is an open forum”. Not that it gives any excuse to simply be rude for the point of being rude, but it is completely true.

Identity based discrimination and hate-speech practices translate to social media much more severely than they would in reality. What makes this even more dangerous is the sense of anonymity afforded to anyone who uses the internet giving anyone the chance to clean their hands of accountability.

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