A joke, a rape threat and an FIR

A young woman performs an open mic in April 2019. It goes viral in July 2020.

Some internet heroes and self styled social media dons take umbrage.

Get it. People are sensitive. They get offended by jokes. They retaliate.

The retaliation is through videos designed to go viral. They are liberally sprinkled with the choicest of abuses roping in not just the target but her mother and sister as well. While showing off their incredible vocabulary and passionately expressing their rage, one particular social media don takes it a step further. He threatens rape. He uses vile language. He is filth incarnate.

These social media monsters sit in cars for some reason to record their soliloquies. They have kohl lined eyes. Some sport jewellery. They wear ganjis or shirts with the first one or two buttons open. They speak into camera with great pride and all of them universally insist on telling their viewers how much they respect women.

These little self styled Nazi boys trotting out their patriotism and championing the cause of historical legends, eagerly wooing their followers who egg them on to display their ugliest selves … their voices cannot be amplified.

We must learn to accept the difficult truth that Hitler’s regime was the most popular government in German history; yet we know as well that few Germans after the war would confess having given any loyalty to the Nazi movement. This was not a lie in the soul of the German nation; it was a part of a collective delusion that all the fascist movements brought upon their followings. It was as if the movements themselves, as things independent of the men that embodied them, were responsible for the things that happened. Gilbert Allardyce, Historian, 1971

What then is our responsibility?

Social media sites have strict policies on conduct. Eg : Twitter – Hateful Conduct Policy – You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

Here are a few of the things that aren’t allowed on Facebook:

  • Nudity or other sexually suggestive content. 
  • Hate speech, credible threats or direct attacks on an individual or group. 
  • Content that contains self-harm or excessive violence. 
  • Fake or impostor profiles. 

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube – they all have ‘strict’ policies. Why is there no evidence of actually implementing them? Why are these uncouth, vile, repulsive, vulgar little boys being allowed to thrive on these sites? What part of their little solo acts allows them this pedestal to abuse and misbehave?

What will it take for the hate mongering to be erased or is this now part of our ‘new normal’?

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