Does free access to information make people more abusive?
In this age of information, we are more connected than ever, but in some ways, we’re becoming more divided as a society. All individuals are now empowered with equal access to information and free speech around the globe, through media and the internet. But there’s an insidious side to life online creating the opposite effect, of a more abusive society. And it’s stirring up issues between all kinds of groups based on differences like religion, politics, ethnicity and skin color.
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?