Do We Need Social Media Police to Watch the Trolls & STOP the Hate?

By Shazia Habib
March 26, 2019
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4 minutes

Internet Trolling Must Stop NOW – Mehwish Hayat & Zaid Ali T. Are Feeling the Hate!

Social Media trolling has become an accepted norm, and someone needs to put a stop to it! If we can have a censorship on television and print media, we need to understand that online media; the fastest growing user web in our generation, needs to be supervised, yes, supervised for the greater good. Because people who send out mean, insensitive comments on a public platform to others they don’t even know, need to stop.

Case in point: The much-loved and popular online YouTuber Zaid Ali T. was trolled on the skin color and appearance of the girl he married. The comments were not even subtle, they were outrageously malicious and downright brutal.

The recent Pakistan Day Tamghas turned into a fiasco of ‘well-deserved’ and ‘not so well-deserved’ awards as online users became judge, jury and executioners in handing out sentences. If you feel you need to put a personal label on what you think about others, why don’t you start with yours.

What does YOUR zahniat (mindset) reflect about you when you have to comment scathingly about an actress who is the public face of a nation that is honouring her on a very significant national day.

Where is your unity now? Do you always need a common enemy to control your urge to pull down each other on social platforms? Do you always NEED an enemy to feel good about yourself?

Mehwish Hayat has given viewers endless hours of online (quality) entertainment in dramas, and Pakistani Films. How will an international media respect our stars and our pride, when we negate their work with the use of crude, street language, in which you reveal your own base level of thinking more than the personality you’re trying so hard to degrade with your carelessly chosen words?

Why can Anoushey Ashraf not attend a Holi festival without people taking sides. And why can’t Mehwish Hayat not get an award if she has been deemed worthy enough by the President of Pakistan. Maybe she is not your version of Mother Teresa, but then, you can express your sentiments in words and thoughts that bespeak an educated, or at least civil mind.

The idea behind social media supervision is not to censor what we do and don’t post in cyberspace but to engage in language that we have no qualms to repeat in front of our children.  Because you know what – they are out there too, just like you and me, and they’re watching and reading every word you write, and they are the future, the movers and the shakers, and the legacy you leave behind.

Our children should not feel that they cannot communicate on public forums without the fear of being pulled down, humiliated or called out for wearing the wrong dress, getting the right/ or wrong award, participating in a cross-cultural event, or a festival from another faith, or marrying a girl who’s not good looking according to desi standards, or marrying a YouTuber who might get a whole lot of flack for marrying a brown girl!

Perhaps Facebook and Instagram need to build in civil conversation starters:

Thumbs down because I think it’s just OFF

An unfollow button, unlove, give up, disagree, a shake of the head (perhaps @The swinery can give us a character for that one), or just a black heart to denote our discontent. Rest assured, these are more appropriate ways to register your discontent than the unspeakable language and thoughts you choose to air for all to read and contemplate about YOUR state of mind!

And if you DO want to troll, then troll the trollers, the haters, the nay-sayers and those who use uncivil language on public platforms to demean our conversations, our thoughts and our image as a nation, yes, OUR image.

You are a part of this nation, you are a Pakistani and every time you write something, someone somewhere will read it and wonder … what kind of person has a soch that is so depraved, what did he/she go through to have so much hatred inside them, and what kind of nation breeds such a person? Pakistan Day is over, but perhaps we should treat each day as Pakistan day. Because we’re all flag bearers, and we’re ALL responsible for what people think about US as a nation.

Let’s leave the hateful rhetoric off the comments wall, because somewhere, some girl might be staring at her complexion in the mirror and wondering if she’ll ever post an image of herself on social media because she’s not fair enough, or cringe before receiving that award, because although 1000 people might have liked her post, the 100 who didn’t like it, left a nasty message behind on her wall. Somewhere, we will lose a Sania Mirza in the making, a Barbara Sharif or an Irfan Junejo, because people will be too scared to post on social media for the awesome work they do! Sticks and stones may break her bones, but words CAN hurt, and in some instances, even kill. THINK before you post a comment, and be kind, it doesn’t kill!

 

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About Shazia Habib

Shazia likes to pen her thoughts when she feels passionately about a life experience, a person or an event. She is mother to 3 lively boys and along with her husband, attempts to settle in her new country by taking German lessons so she is able to soak in the culture, language and spirit of the region. "Wake up in the morning, take a deep breath and exhale! Keep on living with a passion that inspires others! "

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