[LINK] A simple way to curb the trolls – end their anonymity

Stephen Loosley StephenLoosley at outlook.com
Thu Apr 11 20:30:19 AEST 2019

There’s a simple way to curb the trolls – end their anonymity

By Adrian Chiles  Thu 11 Apr 2019

Free speech allows people to have their say, within reason, but it doesn’t guarantee their right to hide their identity

You meet the most fascinating people in football. At the English Football League awards this week, I ended up in the hotel bar with an eminent figure in the football industry, who is no less eminent in his field of work outside the game.

We got talking about social media. He lamented the damage that relentless trolling does to the game. My friend has a simple solution: do away with online anonymity.

He advocates forcing social media companies to make those who use their platforms do so as themselves, their identities authenticated by means of bank account details or whatever other means it takes.

I am no great believer in the existence of simple solutions for anything, but this seems like a good start to me.

Looking at a definition of free speech on Amnesty International’s website, I see nothing about the right to anonymity. To me this says that you have the right, within reason, to opine as you see fit, and that is no small thing. But you should do so, as far as possible, in your own name.

Plainly, whistleblowers and those with jobs on the line in sensitive areas – doctors, teachers, soldiers and so on – need some kind of pass on this one. But if the trolls want to troll, it seems a fair bargain to demand that they put their born names to their bile.

It might even protect us all from the temptation to give vent to the very worst thoughts we all (well, me anyway) have hatching in the darkness of our souls. Otherwise, we would end up not being true to our social selves. But where does a human’s true-self lie? I hope it’s the version with that human’s name on it. If it’s not, we are all doomed.


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