All social media abuse completely unacceptable

The recent backlash to the aggressive social media comments targeting certain post-All Ireland Mayo players is welcome and overdue.

Those who make so many sacrifices for the glory of our county, and who have brought us all on such a great adventure in a dark time, do not deserve the level of spite that is shown to them in any way by both named and unnamed people Platform.

Yes, we need to analyze what went wrong on September 11th. Yes, questions have to be asked and answered.

There are forums for this. These forums can be designed to include public feedback, but this can be done in a constructive and meaningful way as opposed to “click bait” driven social media posts.

There are many public officials across the county who will identify with this experience of personalized abuse on social media.

There are also many who are not elected to public office but who work or volunteer with various organizations that are being abused for taking on a project that may not be popular with everyone or taking a stand on an issue that may be popular with it is relevant organization – which may have resistance.

When we turn back to the GAA chat, the person is increasingly attacked instead of the ball. And social media makes this a lot easier, but often removes responsibility from the defendants.

The pandemic has shown the good and bad sides of social media. On the other hand, it’s easier for family and friends to keep in touch. As the world collapsed, people were able to turn to various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram to keep in touch with family and friends, share fun experiences like the family quiz, but also to meet virtually for heartbreaking occasions like funerals.

However, the pressure of the lockdown has fueled anger and impatience, which are worst seen on the same platforms. Personal opinions and statements are often presented as factual facts. Accusations are often made without evidence or evidence. If you doubt this, not only do check out some of their own pages, but also media sites that cover their activity. Check out some of the comments below these posts – sometimes even the simplest posts can provoke aggression. Protests in front of the private homes of politicians and their families are on the rise.

The increasing level of personal abuse and allegations against public officials, and indeed all public figures, will deter those who are running for office or who are encouraged to do so. We assume that our public representatives have thick skins and can endure any criticism of the chin. However, there are limits to what any person can read about themselves – especially when things are said that are blatantly untrue and for which there are no legal remedies. The irony is that many of those who post these comments would never put their names on a ballot or get involved in their local community – social media is a perfect training ground for throwers in the ditch!

Social media companies have a great responsibility in this area. This publication and all such publications are subject to significant regulations as to what we may and may not publish. Ireland’s laws in this area are some of the strictest in the world, which is not good and needs reform. As overregulated as we are, the virtually lack of regulation in social media is also unacceptable and also requires significant reforms. Coarsening the public debate and reducing reasonable arguments is not good for any democracy.

Politicians also seem to be afraid to rebel against the social media companies. Yes, they are major employers and taxpayers in Ireland. But if you don’t stand up for yourself, how can you expect others to do it?

Accountability in public life is essential and has never been more important. Decisions about our life should always be questioned and questioned. I am not arguing against accountability. I am not arguing against holding people accountable for their actions. The ultimate accountability for our elected public representatives is your vote. If they don’t deliver, if they let you down, you have the power to remove them.

That is the ultimate power. But that power will be weakened if not enough people vote! We all have an interest in this subject – not just these public figures.

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