School of Sociology and Social Policy

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Tackling cyber bullying requires social solidarity not boycotts and ending anonymity

Recent occurrences of online abuse, particularly on Twitter and ask.fm have led to knee-jerk calls for the banning of the latter site and a more widespread challenge to any form of online anonymity. The awful circumstances which led to 13 year old girl taking her life of course must be avoided in the future. But I’m not sure that anonymity is what enabled this to happen. Many of the people who have recently sent out offensive, and in some cases criminal, messages did not hide behind anonymity. In many cases, on Twitter at least, people used their real names and genuine photographs. This did not stop them from using, usually misogynistic, abusive language against other people. Some of the worst such abuse has been directed towards the historian Mary Beard. Continue reading

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