Monday, 6 February 2017

Right wing bigots and Online trolling

I've written previously of my concerns about some aspects of social media, such as the way right wing and neo fascist forces are using social media to disseminate fake news ie tell lies and also the fact social media seems to bring out the worst in some people I publish here a worrying example of this disturbing trend in a recent screenshot from Facebook sent to me by a friend.

Now i've no idea who Veronica Jones is, other than i understand she lives somewhere in the UK and frequents the facebook pages of news outlets like The Mirror and The Mail. And while she obviously wont find herself being shortlisted for the Booker prize any time soon in reading the torrent of hatred and bigotry in her post you do have to have serious concerns about the mentality of an individual like this. And the worrying thing is Veronica Jones vile comment isn't an isolated example of the abuse you can find yourself subject to from some people for having the temerity to challenge their right wing and racist views. Anyone who has challenged UKIP members or Brexit supporters or Donald Trump enthusiasts online will tell you that there are plenty of people like 'Veronica Jones' out there.

And i was given a very stark reminder of this myself last week in the shape of a certain 'Sarah Svensson'. Sarah Svensson is a UKIP member based in South Wales who distinguishes herself by posting links to various facebook groups promoting the hate mongering of Milo Yiannopoulos and the 'Alt Right' website so beloved by white supremacists Breitbart Recently however Svensson plumbed new depths with remarks she made about the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

As some readers might know last year Leanne was the victim of vile online attacks, attacks which included threats to rape her and calls for her to be shot Now given such horrific experiences Leanne quite understandably adopts a zero tolerance approach to online trolls and blocks such people from commenting on her facebook page.You might have thought then the appalling threats Leanne has suffered would have prompted UKIP members to moderate their vitriolic attacks on her somewhat - not a bit of it. When i reminded Sarah Svennson of the horrific abuse Leanne has suffered at the hands of online trolls, and pointed out she that she is perfectly entitled to take measures to protect herself from further harassment - such as blocking the worst offenders - Svensson responded with a remark so thoughtless and callous as to almost defy belief.

Saying Leanne should "stay off the frontline where it's safer to dodge the bullets" a few months after somebody was prosecuted for publicly calling for her to be shot must surely rank as among the most insensitive comments to appear on social media, and i think illustrates all too graphically what i've said previously about social media bringing out the worst in some people. Even more disturbingly however the comments i have highlighted in this post perhaps shows us what those like Sarah Svensson and Veronica Jones - and other right wing bigots like them - are really thinking.

P.S. since drafting this piece i've been informed - ironically by a supporter of Ukip - that 'Sarah Svensson' is a fake facebook profile. Her real identity is however known to me and i can confirm she is a prominent Ukip member in south wales. I hope she will have the decency to reveal her true identity before it is done for her.

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