While many people use the internet to join beneficial online communities, cyberspace can also be a cruel, hateful place. Hatemongering while hiding behind a keyboard is an activity that gives a very sad faction of our society a rush for some reason and it's a phenomenon that has been spreading. You don't have to go very far on the interwebs to find crude, rude, mean and totally unnecessary statements. They're on personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... heck, we've even gotten them in our comments section on SheKnows.
Chicago P.D. actress, Sophia Bush, recently became the target of an especially aggressive troll, but she's fighting back. And she's not the only one. Celebrities and other people known for their online presence are becoming increasingly more outspoken when it comes to online bullying, as are average social media users.
Bush took to Instagram on Monday to air a grievance about a person on Twitter who has been posing as her and harassing both Bush and her fans. She posted a pretty disturbing photo of numerous posts she had come across. "The photograph is a tiny sampling of 500 screenshots I've taken in the past three months. And I'm sharing it to make something very clear. This kind of behavior does. Not. Fly," Bush says in the caption. "You do not have permission to hide. Not anymore: This has gotten beyond out of hand. Obsessive. Violent. And legally punishable." Bush says she has been in contact with the authorities, who are "on it."
Just this past weekend, Robert Pattinson's new girlfriend, FKA twigs, revealed that she's been the target of horrible online racial abuse at the hands of Pattinson's notoriously jealous and outspoken fans. The British songstress took the opportunity to stand up for herself and let the Twittersphere know that such nastiness is not OK. "I am genuinely shocked at (sic) disgusted by the amount of racism that has infected my account the past week," she tweeted. "Racism is unacceptable in the real world and it's unacceptable online."
Other celebs have taken an even more cutthroat approach. Brooke Hogan and Rachel Brathen, who is otherwise known as Yoga Girl and has a following of over 1 million Instagram users, recently announced they will be straight up blocking people the second they see a hateful comment about them or anyone in their online community. "FROM NOW ON EVERY SINGLE PERSON COMMENTING NEGATIVITY WILL BE BLOCKED FOREVER," Brathen wrote in a caption on Instagram. Similarly, Hogan wrote, "Your comments are seen by more than just me now. There are young people that follow my page and management and myself do not take your comments lightly, so we will be taking action."
We've also noticed a growing number of articulate social media users who are willing to stand up against trolls and defend other people on the internet without bashing the abuser or using profanity. We love this trend and it makes those users look way more intelligent and compassionate than the ones bringing negativity to the table.
The question is: Why do people feel that it's acceptable to make horrible comments about other human beings? Most of the things said would never be said out loud in public and it's so incredibly cowardly and pitiful to think you can say them on the internet. They're the same words; they still hurt the other person just as much as saying them to their face. The only difference is the attacker is cowering behind a computer.
Bush makes the great point that we have to take into consideration that people trolling others are obviously very fragile, broken people themselves. "What happened to you, you poor lost soul, that this is how you find your pleasure?" writes Bush.
But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be responsible for the energy they bring into a space, even if that space is the internet.
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