The Internet Hate Paradox

 

 

 

The advent of the internet was groundbreaking, allowing half the planet—from students to scientists—access to an unparalleled amount of information and resources acquired throughout the history of time. It has become an integral part of our lives, revolutionizing trade, finance, shopping, and banking, while changing the structure of communication and furthering globalization. Today, it is estimated that over4billion people have access to the internet. There are reportedly 6,000 tweets posted every second on Twitter, totaling a whopping 500 million tweets per day. YouTube claims that 400 hours of video are added to its site per minute.  Every hour, Facebook’s roughly 2.07 billion users world wide post around 30 million messages.

The internet has given a voice to those who previously had no means of expressing themselves to a wider audience. This phenomenon was first observed in 2009, when a Moldovan student protest was organized after cell phone coverage was halted by the government. This was considered the first “Twitter revolution.”3 After the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections, civilians took to the streets and were able to freely post hundreds of accounts, videos, and photos of clashes that were taking place. In 2011, Egyptians were able to organize, and garner public support, via Twitter in order to bring down the government. However, despite all of these positive uses, there are inherent dangers in the flow of information. This powerful engine of communication has also become a weapon of choice for extremist groups, crime networks, and terrorists, who use it to preach hate, spread dangerous ideologies and propaganda, and incite violence.

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