What can you say about increasing of the number of crimes in England and Wales in 2016?
In the year 2016, recorded hate crimes by the police, in England and Wales peaked to 6000 incidents. Furthermore, a study done by the think tank Demos shows that there are 10’000 racial slurs posted on twitter every day. This is not the full picture. An interpretation of these statistics would clearly suggest that people are bluntly racist due to an abuse of free speech. An article published by the Guardian in 2017 stated that ‘An overwhelming number (82%) of those who came across hate speech believe companies such as Facebook and Twitter should do more to tackle it online.’ However, do we blame the companies who provide a platform for these statements or the individuals responsible for spreading hate?
Although social media provides people with the ability to keep in contact with family and friends, offers us a huge range of entertainment, and allows us to update everyone with what is going on in our lives; it can also be potentially incredibly dangerous. The internet provides a cloak of anonymity: hidden behind their computer screens in their comfort zone; offenders seem to enjoy harassing others as a source of entertainment. There are thousands of people who have been caught posting racial slurs and committing offenses online and having to face the consequences. For example, ‘Anonymous’ hacker, Christopher Weatherhead, was sentenced to 18 months for his part in a cyber attack that cost upwards of 3.5 million pounds. He felt that he was anonymous and that he would get away with it. Interestingly, people who voice their racist opinions online do not feel the need for their anonymity. In January 2018, 19-year-old University of Alabama student Harley Barber was expelled for posting two racially aggressive videos to her social media. This suggests that online racism is seen to be somewhat normalized as she had no fear of identity being exposed.