Recently there has been an increase in darker social media activities. People have found it entertaining to debase, bully, and slander others.
Hordes of messages of violence, threats, and unsubstantiated accusations have flooded everyone’s timelines. This recent overflow of brazen aggression has become a concerning element of living in a world limited by fear of Covid-19.
Our in-person interactions have indeed been limited, and we have reached out through social media for connection and community in such uncertain times. However, the advent of this new life has come with the drawbacks of the bored, the angry, and the hurting, spewing hate. The internet never forgets, so all the ranting and raving happening in these times can always come back to haunt you.
Social media platforms are a microcosm of our living environment, the things we do there determine the kind of people we are, and the image others have of us. It is so vital that we use the privilege of social media to bolster those who are unable to do so themselves. It should never be a platform to bring down others. On these platforms, we must attempt to make a positive change instead of spreading negativity and hate hiding behind screens.
Grenada’s Electronic Crimes Act passed in 2013 makes it a crime to send offensive messages over communication platforms, including social media sites. The legislation also speaks to violation of privacy, so people posting screenshots of real or fabricated private conversations, trying to ‘out’ people, or broadcasting unsubstantiated HIV claims, are breaking the law and can face fines up to EC$300,000, prison time of up to 3 years, or both.
The convenience of social media makes it easy to do things without thinking, and it is time we summon our common sense when interacting with these platforms. It is well and good to use for entertainment, but we must be mindful of the attacks and claims that are made in these spaces. Actions come with consequences, and even on social media, you will be held responsible for what you say and how you act.