This is not the first message we see in the news and it will not be the last. We see the everlasting rumble of facilitation and the need to sweep under the carpet the actions of others and never holding them to account. Last week many in the UK were given ‘Instagram bans ‘graphic’ self-harm images after Molly Russell’s death‘, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/07/instagram-bans-graphic-self-harm-images-after-molly-russells-death) gives us a scenario that should kick us all into action, yet not in the way that some believe is the right one.
Even as we saw: “After days of growing pressure on Instagram culminated in a meeting with health secretary Matt Hancock, the social network’s head Adam Mosseri admitted that the company had not done enough and said that explicit imagery of self-harm would no longer be allowed on the site“, we should be angered by the words of Adam Mosseri, yet we are not. The image in this is not as simple as it is given, but it should be. 2 days ago we see ‘Instagram urged to crack down on eating disorder images‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/feb/08/instagram-urged-to-crack-down-on-eating-disorder-images) where the quote: “The Guardian has discovered thousands of hashtags and accounts promoting anorexia, including diaries of weight loss, alarming pictures and comments on goal weights“, we get the advice “Please don’t report, just block,” and that is also the first path where the solution is found. It should instantly apply to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and all other forms of social media.
The simple solution
You as the poster are responsible for the content you post, you can be prosecuted and sued if need be, if a case goes to court all data and information of the account, as well as its posting history will be made available to the prosecuting parties. You are responsible for the created account and the content posted through it.
It is this simple; those who are on that path of chaos and anarchy must bear the responsibilities of the impact. No matter your age ‘I did not know’ is not a valid defence in court. Your life over, no tertiary education (the fast food industry always needs fresh blood).
It is time that we stop facilitating to social media to grow their numbers any way they can, even as the death of Molly Russell is out now, we need to realise that the matter is worse than: “But critics said the changes should have already been made and remained skeptical they would be enough to tackle a problem that some said has grown unchecked for 10 years“, political inaction and facilitation are a direct cause here and it is time to stop fretting and apply every brake we can. The measure ‘including the removal of non-graphic images of self-harm‘, the poster needs to be dealt with, In case of self-harm it might have meant that the proper people talked to Molly Russel immediately, which now implies that Molly Russel could have been alive today if action had been taken earlier. Those who posted fake alerts might find themselves prosecuted, their equipment seized and they can revert to spending hours reading, their library card giving a clear “no internet access” part. There needs to be a price for the damage inflicted. The response ‘I thought it was fun!‘ will not hold water, we have given enough leeway for the longest of times and we need to realise that the parents are often not blameless either.
So as we are given: “young people also faced being confronted with pro-anorexia images” we need to be extra alarmed. So when we are confronted with that slogan, how can this be seen as “an ascetic Journey“? If we look at ascetic we see “characterized by severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons“, yet most of the younger people will have considered that they meant aesthetic which means “concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty”, what I would call miscommunication through words that sound alike. You see, ”abstention from all forms of indulgence“, does not include do not eat what your body requires to stay healthy, because the message bringer was pretty clear of remaining in the dark to what constitutes indulgence, and whilst we see: the element of “more than is good for you” to be ignored, we see the sliding scale of danger towards that persons health. So even if we agree with “There is a social obligation and whether there is also an industry obligation is an important point that is coming out at the moment as well.” We see that in the end, the poster is not held to account and whilst we look at the statement of images, it is clear that there is every change that the slogan is kept online, which is more dangerous as slogans can become meme’s in the mind of the troubled person hammering second after second until it grabs hold in daily life. The damage is done!
When we set into law the prosecution of the poster, we also see a first step into resolving the state of cyber-bullying, these cowards are hiding in the shadows, feeling that they have fun, yet when the data becomes available for prosecution as they can no longer delete their activities, we see the impact of their fear reversed, we enable the bullied to go after those bullies. These people will now step into the spotlight and they tend to not like it at all.
All elements solved by properly holding the poster to account and that is what most social media fear, because when accountability comes into play posts decline by well over 30% and that is the fear of social media, to be made responsible is also to be made less flammable and social media grows with every online flame, it is a consequence of participation and when there is an emotional flame everyone wants to participate and have their say in it all.
It is Jade (19) who gives us more in the Guardian, who at age 11 engaged in “When my eating disorder and depression were at their worst, I scoured apps like Instagram to find these images which only worsened my self-image. At this time the posts were few and far between. Clearly the amount of images is now vast across almost all social media platforms,” Now we can understand that this is not the fault of social media that people ignore age requirements, yet this is the common issue that has been around for too long, so when we see “It isn’t only Instagram that is riddled with these potentially distressing images, sites or apps like Tumblr, Pinterest and Weheartit are also full of these posts.” we see the stage where the poster needs to be held to account, we see the stage that has been avoided for a decade and all the players know that they have been avoiding the stage. Now there is a new trend, the image of cutting, even as some sources are about the dream, about: “Cutting oneself indicates family problems“, it is now linked in several ways to self-harm and as such the picture becomes less and less transparent to resolve, yet the first option, hold the poster to account is still there and this path has been avoided for close to a decade, the question becomes why?
Age is no longer a valid point, the transgressors had no issues lying about their age, as such they need to directly feel the impact as they throw away their lives, it puts them and their parents in the picture, it needs to become about this as overworked parents all rely on giving their child a tablet or mobile as a toy so that they can be quiet as they are too exhausted, all replacement towards the failure of raising a child (in some cases). In other cases it is the lack of discipline and peer pressure, it has to stop, holding the poster to account has become an essential first step. There is a secondary need to do this, we see in some parts of the world how social media is used to spread extremism (Indonesia), how long until they start looking for tools to do their work for them? How long until we start seeing the impact of “extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS)“, via a fictive 17 year old boy named Kevin living in Springfield (IL) or Richmond (Vi)? He’ll tell you that they gave him a cool video game for promoting and retweeting something he could not read, and his classmates all did the same because Kevin got a really cool video game, that was money in the bank. For the JAD in the end it would have been money in the bank all that visibility for $59 (plus shipping), Google Ads could not have given them a better deal ever. The federal investigation teams will unable to untangle that mess for months, the perpetrators will have moved on weeks before.
That is how I see it!
We need to change gears on all social media fronts and holding the poster to account is a first step. To remove dangers form people like Molly Russell is a first, but it goes beyond that. Even when we see the sceptical foundation of: “Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, the digital minister, Margot James, said the government would “have to keep the situation very closely under review to make sure that these commitments are made real – and as swiftly as possible”” people like Margot James and her various international counter parts need to realise that it is way too late for ‘keep the situation very closely under review‘, it is over half a decade too late already, we need to change gears and make a first step towards holding posters accountable for what they post, when it results in fatalities a freedom of expression will not hold water and even if the court decides to do just that, the people have a right to know who that poster was. It gets to be even worse when we consider the factor that Apple played in all this. Their part is less easy to see because privacy is set and at times privacy is just that nobody’s business, yet when it results in the death of a 14 year old and it was a cyberbully that was behind it all? Should Apple be allowed to protect the identity of the murderer? It is not an easy matter and some drawers should justifiably be kept closed, yet the image still remains and that too is a moment where the poster could have been held accountable and holding them to account might have stopped a worse matter earlier on, it was not to be the case.
I believe that dozens of lives could have been saved if political players had acted a lot earlier and a lot more decisive.