According According to Goode et al. (2017), cyber-hate is defined as any use of electronic communication technology in a manner that spreads anti-Semitic, bigot, racist, terrorist, and extremist information, or messages. With the advancement in technology, the use of social media has become more of a basic need to the current generation, an aspect that exposes both men and women to the challenges of abuse and hatred that spread through the system. This paper examines and presents a clear research and discussion on the primary elements that globally stimulates the spread of cyber-hate on gender. It evaluates the background information of the concept, present findings, and suggest relevant recommendations on what needs to service providers need to do with the aim of combating cyber-hate not only on gender but even other related aspects.
Background Analysis of cyber-hate
In a systematic review, Ward (2016) points out that both male and female that in one way or another contributes to the public debates are often subjected to increasing cyber-hate and threats. Both members of the public and government officials have personal experience with the challenge, an aspect that is determined by different elements. For instance, Mr. Ellan, a Norwegian Minister of health, was at the forefront of introducing a policy on smoking, an issue that was globally considered one of the most stringent global legislating on smoking. It is an aspect that triggered a session to which he was subjected to personal threats and harmful comments from the public. Like Mr, Ellan, cyber-hate has been experienced by many other people across all cultures as supported by Sandercock (2015).
In the decades that have passed, Goode et al. (2017) assert that cyber-hate is a growing problem in the society, an aspect that has been triggered with the advancement of technology across every industry and lifestyle activities. Cyber-hate is known to be characterized by the spread of rumors, threats, and slander by gender identity, religious beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Zweig et al. (2013) also denote that the growing reach of the Internet, the rapid spread of communication technologies and mobile communication, as well as the widespread social media, have presented new opportunities for businesses but also promotes cyber-hate on gender. Such platforms have been adopted for spreading the news of the rights of women and the girl child in the society, a strategy that has seen technology inflict harm on girls and women. As a result, cyber-hate is emerging as a world problem with serious implications for the economies and societies around the world.
The study adopts the survey questionnaire targeting the public and social media managers for different internet providers. The survey was conducted among 15 public participants and five private social media managers for different business organizations. The survey adopts open-ended questions that are focused on understanding the following aspects;
- What elements promote cyber-hate among different genders?
- What steps do the internet providers recommend in dealing with issues of digital violations such as cyber-hate?
- Understanding of the public on the terms and conditions governing their usage of the internet
The study also reviews different journal publications as the primary means of collecting information. As a secondary source of information, the paper evaluates different literature studies in the various aspects that directly or indirectly relates to cyber-hate and gender in the current society. The paper will evaluate the different issues and suggestions under the subject cyber-hate, an aspect that will provide more information on the development of technology and its impacts on the society.
In reviewing various internet service providers, the results show that many sites such as YouTube allow users to flag any offensive content for review. Such sites allow the users to comment on why they thought the communication could be considered as cyber-hate or it is an offensive statement. In such cases, users are expected to include details of comments as to why they have the view of the item of communication to be cyber-hate. The management of such social sites encourages the public to speak by posting comments, videos, and counter viewpoints that oppose the offensive view that leads to cyber-hate. With such a strategy, they aim at ensuring that the social networking community understands a competing perspective of cyber-love and positivity in promoting unity and oneness among the different genders in the global society.
Table 1: Views of the internet providers in combating cyber-hate
Perspective is very essential, an aspect that requires every individual to think before acting. In the process, act or respond in a thoughtful and careful manner that do not become offensive to the rest.
The fight against cyber-hate is for everyone in the community. As a result, we should not forget to post positive comments on every content that shares positive messages.
There are many groups that publish information concerning combating certain kinds of prejudice such as anti-Semitism from Anti-Defamation sources.
Talk and share with friends and families on the need of fight against cyber-hate.
Take active role in combating prejudice offline and online cyber-hate communication.
It is the responsibility of every user to have a clear understanding of the community he or she is dealing with in the use of the internet. Evaluate and understand the terms of service or provides community guidelines for finding more information about the site the provider is running. In that manner, it is possible for the user to hold accountable the sites for their own words.
The result also proved that out of the 15 participants, only two always take their time in reading and understanding the terms and conditions governing the use of internet services they engage in while communicating with other peers of just commenting on the internet staff. 100% of the participants have also experienced cyber-hate due to different aspects of communication and topic of discussion at that time. According to them, politics, rights of women in the society, and position in the society were the primary element that promoted cyber-hate.
While reviewing different publications, it is evident that the adoption of technological advancements in various aspects has provided groundbreaking business and life advantages. The global population has information and opportunities that cannot be underestimated due to the use of the internet (Dank, 2014). For instance, the video, internet, and music sharing sites, mobile phones, and social media have changed the socio-economic aspects of the world. However, Wright and Li (2012) point out that this ubiquitous information technology has also become a platform for hate, bigotry, and vitriolic language among the global community.
Goode et al. (2017) point out that cyber-hate has become a primary concern due to its impact on individuals, society, and online community; especially on specific gender depending on the element of the discussion. The following elements were pointed out as major contributors to cyber-hate among genders in the society.
- Impersonation- technology is used to assume the identity of specific victims with the aim of accessing private information, shame or embarrass a victim, create fraudulent documents for identity, or contact targeted victims. Such aspects have led to sending emails from the victim's email accounts and making calls using unknown numbers.
- Spamming- the internet is being used to threaten, annoy, contact continuously, or scare victims. This is used especially on women advocating for change on issues that are against the male counterparts such as was against female genital mutilation, rights of women, policy changes, etc. The aim of this strategy is to ensure persistent calls and texts or filling up voicemail with messages that lives no other person with space to contact the victim (Chan, Ghose, & Seamans, 2016).
- Unemployment and online recruitments- the internet is being used in luring potential victims into violent situations such as fraudulent advertisements and postings including employment opportunities and dating sites. Bradley et al. (2016) denotes that the result is to find out the truth of traffickers using chat rooms, websites for communication, and message boards. This has lowered many girls and young men into sex slavery.
- Politics- the internet is used by different political figures to spread hate messages about their opposition counterparts. It is experienced in many cases when women take part in political positions as a strategy to frighten than to step down in favor of their male counterparts. In such cases, defamatory and hate messages are manipulated while illegal materials relating to the victim are used to threaten or leak private information that can be used successfully to politically eliminate a competitor (Hwang et al., 2016).
In a systematic study, Elpus and Carter (2016) point out that cyber-hate often have a clear and essential gender-based dimension. Most women are often exposed to rape threats and sexualized hatred just because they are seen and heard advocating for the rights of their female counterparts in the community. There are also victims of cyber-rape and revenge pornography with the aim of humiliating and objectifying certain individuals and destroy their reputation for making them feel vulnerable, afraid, and ashamed.
Recommendation strategies that can be adapted to prevent cyber-hate
The internet industry, as well as the respective service providers, need to recognize the moral and social responsibility aspect in combating cyber-hate. The service providers, as well as the social networking sites, need to generate content sites that recognize and address the vital role coming with facilitating communication. It should take effect even in case of an unintended side-effect of otherwise legitimate or extremely valuable work.
According to Walters and Tumath (2014), the first imperative in the elimination of cyber-hate in gender is prevention. The changing social norms and attitudes are the first more to shifting the way online abuse is evaluated and understood as a serious challenge. In other words, even though violence is not new, cyber-hate is an aspect that needs to be recognized and addressed by the public as an issue of priority. As a result, sensitization to cyber-hate on gender needs to include education of the next generation of ICT users both male and female through their teachers, parents, and the community in overall. These strategies also need to involve the justice systems and police authorities.
It is also recommended for internet service providers to implement or put in place safeguards that can secure a safe digital space. Sandercock (2015) denotes that over the years, steps on fighting gender violence have evolved around adopting crisis centers, education helplines, and women shelters. In light of the new cyber-hate complexity in the society, it is recommended that the digital world adopts safety measures with the aim of keeping up with the rapidly evolving internet. However, such a strategy will require active participation, attention, and resources from the industry, governments, and civil societies.
Addressing cyber-hate also requires a multi-level approach such as sanctions to address the issue. Sanctions need to address the regulations, ability, and will of the legal systems and courts in enforcing compliance as well as punitive consequences for any perpetrators. The establishment id necessary laws are a straight goal, but the problem often comes with the aspect of effective implementation. However, Ward (2016) denotes that sanctions on their own are not in a position to accord, set, or define the societal norms, remedy injuries, or deter unlawful activities that promotes cyber-hate. Therefore, the challenge requires broad-based action from the society that engages all the stakeholders as a part of the solutions. It will be adopted as a mere legal agenda of reform that is centered on perpetrators and abusers with the aim of limiting both its impact and reach.
From the study, it is evident that cyber-hate is a growing concern as a result of the impacts it has on communities, online societies, and individuals. Many online global companies are focused on striking a balance between ensuring the safety of the online community and protecting the individual expression. Every member of the society hence has the responsibility of fighting cyber-hate among every gender in the society, an aspect that should be adopted both in academic institutions and legal systems to ensure the community lives in harmony in the online and offline usage of internet.
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