Vicious online posts, more than just ranting

Maya Amjadi/Staff Writer

All over the Web, people are posting snide or cruel blogs and responses to pictures and articles every minute of every day.

Seconds to get there, seconds to type an opinion, or what is meant to be an opinion, and a mere fraction of a second later to click the “send” button. For some, it has taken years to fulfill their sentence from what they posted on an Internet page.

Open up any article and go to where the comments are listed. If there isn’t anything hurtful or snide written there, go to the next article. It won’t take you long to find something that fits the description. The comments are often angry; typed before thinking whether they are even somewhat appropriate or not. Hurtful messages, trash talk, even defamation can easily be found.

In America it may be easy to throw opinions out there because it is how we are taught. Voice your opinion. And the Freedom of Speech amendment to the Constitution supports and establishes this. Doesn’t it? Well the amendment does not include defamation, it never has.

Federal law states that websites are not to be held accountable for statements posted by outside viewers. What many people do not know, however, is that they can be forced to reveal the poster’s identity. A time when this would suffice would be when the post includes false information. Lies or accusations about people in the article could be thought of as just another way of expressing opinion, but federal law does not recognize it as such. Posting lies receives jail time. More and more instances like this have been occurring in the last few years. Court rulings are taken up when the content of the post is sued and judges are ruling that online poster’s do not have the right to remain anonymous.

Not only is it dumb, but harmful things have come from posting unwise, cruel, and false information on the Web. These include numerous hate crimes that have resulted in terrors including death.

It is clear that although we have the right of free speech, abusing this privilege is causing horrific problems across the country. Don’t contribute to the hate. To test whether you should post something or not ask yourself, “Would I say this to them in person? Would I say it to their face?” More often than not, you might just find deleting the message instead of sending it can be a lot safer and a lot less cruel.

Class of 2014

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