A new website based in Pakistan is working towards exposing online users who post comments or jokes with hateful, homophobic, racist or misogynistic content. (http://nafrataggregator.org) People are encouraged to post pictures or screen shots of users and their comments in order to compile them in different categories from hate and misogyny to homophobia and even rape jokes among others. Upon checking out the site, you could conclude that some of the comments featured are not necessarily hateful or ill intentioned, but overall it is very well intentioned and could prove to be effective in the long term. Especially coming from a country considered quite conservative with many laws targeting homosexuality, it is interesting that the concept is utilised in Pakistan and shows positive progression.
A similar, perhaps more sophisticated example of a similar model is the tumblr page “Public Shaming” ( http://publicshaming.tumblr.com ) where more high profile online users are exposed for their twitter comments or public outbursts. Semi-famous actor Kal Penn of the ‘Harold and Kumar’ movies is featured for his advocacy of the City of NY’s ‘Stop, Question, Frisk Policy’ via Twitter. Penn, also followed it up with a response to one of his followers who highlighted the racist nature of the policy, stating that Blacks and Latinos are the ones committing the crimes and the profiling is justified. Also featured on the Tumblr site are people’s offensive Facebook responses and comments often with their full names and photos.
Overall, while these examples and other similar sites show a drop in the ocean of the abusive and unaccounted for comments that flood the internet forums and comment sections every day, I think that they are working towards making users more accountable for their actions and could contribute to some actually stopping and thinking before they type.
This contributes to the discussion of how the internet can be regulated by its users rather than necessarily from government forces and restrictions. Is this an effective way of making people more accountable for their words? Is it at least a step in the right direction? What more could be done to stop online abusive behaviour?
- What can Twitter do to stop the abuse? (trustedreviews.com)
- Why Kal Penn Is Defending Bloomberg’s Stop and Frisk Policy (theatlanticcities.com)
- Twitter hands down new rules to beat abusive talk (buzzom.com)