From trolling, hate speech, perverse language, racist and sexist comments to actual death threats – individuals are often subjected to many such online abuses on the Internet. To raise awareness and possibly find a logical solution to this, comedian John Oliver chose to dedicate his latest episode of ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ on the issue of online harassment especially on women. He shed light on many actual cases of Internet abuse, one that also led to attempted suicide, and urged for a proper law in place to prosecute these shadowed criminals.
The video, filled with humor of course, also raised a lot of questions about the loopholes in online laws that allow people to use perverse, inappropriate language and get away with it. Online abuse is on the rise, with the easy access to social media easing it even further. A recent study by feminist activist group Women, Action and the Media (WAM) found that, around a quarter of young men and women have been physically threatened online, and a quarter of young women have been sexually harassed online.
Even though Twitter and Facebook have beefed up their blocking and reporting policies and even introduced new features to curb trolls and harassers. Reddit has banned the posting of such content including leaked photos of celebrities while last week Google announced it would remove search results related to revenge porn if the victim submits a request. However, the issue of online harassment needs more stringent laws and understanding about how the social media works.
Watch Oliver’s hard hitting episode here: