What should government, business, and the public do?
In the face of today’s complex Internet environment, governments, enterprises and the public should work together to create a harmonious and equitable Internet environment. The Internet has evolved from its commercial beginnings in the 1990s to become an essential form of social interaction today(Leiner et al., 2009b).The development of the Internet has indeed provided a lot of convenience to the public, but while the public enjoys the convenience of the Internet, it has also led to a series of problems. Pornography, violence, hatred and many other things that are not conducive to the development of the Internet have appeared on the major social media platforms. Due to the government’s inadequate management system for the Internet, companies have relaxed the regulation of content on their platforms in pursuit of profit, and the public has enjoyed the virtual persona and freedom of expression of the Internet, leading to the emergence of extreme content and views. Therefore, to solve the problems arising from the Internet today, the government, companies and the public must work together.
Government intervention – Stop cyber violence
The government acts as a legal body to protect the rights of the public. It should make adjustments in the interest of the public and regulate the legal provisions of citizens’ online behaviour. Although laws and regulations are now in place in all countries, there are still gaps in their implementation due to the evolving Internet environment. The rise of the “Metoo movement” has improved the legal and institutional protection of women against violence( Burke, 2019). However, as the internet has evolved and forms of sexual violence have changed, ‘cyber violence’ has become a major issue for women today. “a website that allows university students to upload and rank images of women. Although Mark Zuckerberg claimed that “it was a prank site” and quickly shut it down, the act did not end there and the emergence of Facebook led to a more serious phenomenon of online technologically facilitated sexual violence(OTFSV) (Jurasz & Barker, 2021). In a survey, 65% of 1000 Australian teenage females were found to have experienced online violence, most often through abusive language and verbal abuse on Facebook, and Instagram (Davey, 2020). However, in the face of such a serious phenomenon, there are still significant gaps in the government’s management of ‘cyber violence. The government’s handling of cyber violence and OTFSV is not as serious as the offline crimes of sexual violence. Every regional government needs to establish legal provisions to strictly regulate behaviour that violates the ethical boundaries of the internet, given the prevalence and severity of cyber violence. Because of the ‘anonymity’ of the internet, governments can work with media platforms to monitor the IP of users who commit ‘cyber violence’ and, where necessary, criminal justice agencies should take appropriate criminal law measures. If necessary, criminal justice agencies should also take appropriate criminal law measures. The government should also consider how women can access remedies through the law to minimize the impact of cyber violence on them when enacting legislation.
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Enterprises improve the service system
The Internet as a private enterprise is based on the principle of maximizing personal profit, ignoring the spread of false information, hate phenomena and discriminatory messages. In a way, the Internet platform even accelerates the reproduction of these phenomena. The Internet is characterized by the rapid dissemination of information and a large community of users. Platforms go through users registering accounts to achieve economic benefits, and users speak out through the platforms to fight for their rights to freedom of expression. However, this “freedom of speech” includes much “hate speech”, even though the platforms restrict and limit users’ speech and behavior through their terms of service when they sign up for an account. However, these terms and conditions have gradually become ‘transparent’ as platforms seek to gain more information about their participants. Today’s most popular social media platforms, Facebook, TikTok and WhatsApp, all have clear rules against “hate speech” and different definitions of “hate speech” (Stasi, 2019). However, apart from the vague definitions, none of the platforms specifies the criteria for the practice and application of “hate speech ”and the penalties for users who post “hate speech”(Stasi, 2019). How should users protect their rights and safety when they are subjected to hate speech on internet platforms? As a service provider, you should clarify your platform’s use and penalties by setting up a dedicated monitoring account to disclose the outcome of violations and users and inform them of the serious consequences of breaching the terms of service. The platform can also use the account to popularize and educate users on internet safety knowledge. Secondary algorithms, both machine and manual, are set up to block content that has a negative impact, as the machine has biases and the manual can verify the blocked content twice. For users who have already suffered from hate speech or who have been harmed by other internet issues, platforms should provide care and psychological guidance and humanistic care. Companies, as the creators of internet platforms, should create a good online environment for the public and better serve them.
The public abides by Internet regulation and self-control
The public is a key factor in solving online problems today. In real life, the public can control and regulate its behavior because of relatively well-established laws governing its behavior. However, the ‘anonymity’ of the virtual world has led to the public gradually losing the ability to control themselves and to publish their own opinions and opinions with impunity. Many people even take out the stress they experience in real life on the internet, which can lead to addiction in the long run. Most people believe that young people are more likely to lose themselves in the Internet environment and become addicted to it when they are growing up and have not yet formed their values. However, a survey of employee use of the internet found that 37% of the 1,439 employees regularly surfed the internet at work, with the largest proportions accessing pornography and online chatting – 42% and 13% (Young, 2004). The dangers of the Internet for the public are no longer limited to a specific group. The public is addicted to the entertainment atmosphere of the Internet enjoying the pleasure it brings them and gradually appearing paralyzed. To prevent the deterioration of the Internet environment, the public should establish correct Internet values and strengthen their ability to exercise self-discipline and self-control on the Internet. When swimming in the world of the Internet, users should have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and abide by the rules of Internet management, resolutely refusing any behavior that is detrimental to the development of the Internet. When using the virtual nature of the Internet to display and release stress, the public should always remember that although the Internet is virtual, the users who use it are real. There is no real ‘anonymity’ as any negative comments made by users on the internet can be traced. Therefore, when using social media platforms, the public should always adhere to their principles and ethical boundaries, refrain from being purveyors and publishers of false information, and use the internet properly to master self-regulation and self-control.
“File:Cyber violence 1.jpg” by yingjin is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Governments, businesses and the public should work together to stop the spread of bullying, violence, harassment and hate content on digital platforms. The government, as the guardian of the people’s interests, should introduce laws and regulations that make it clear that criminal law can interfere with serious breaches of internet regulations. As the creator of the platform, enterprises serve the public and have absolute rights in the management system of the platform, and should create a safe social platform for the public, where they can directly intercept negative content, establish inspector accounts and clearly define the punishment mechanism. The public, as the direct creators of negative content, should establish the right Internet values and the ability to do self-supervision and control.
Davey, M. (2020, October 4). Online violence against women “flourishing”, and most common on Facebook, survey finds. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/oct/05/online-violence-against-women-flourishing-and-most-common-on-facebook-survey-finds
Burke, T. (2019, November 22). Get to know us. Me Too. Movement. https://metoomvmt.org/get-to-know-us/history-inception/
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Jurasz, O., & Barker, K. (2021). Sexual violence in the digital age: A criminal law conundrum? German Law Journal, 22(5), 784–799. https://doi.org/10.1017/glj.2021.39
Leiner, B. M., Cerf, V. G., Clark, D. D., Kahn, R. E., Kleinrock, L., Lynch, D. C., Postel, J., Roberts, L. G., & Wolff, S. (2009b). A brief history of the internet. ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, 39(5), 22–31. https://doi.org/10.1145/1629607.162961
Stasi, M. L. (2019). Social media platforms and content exposure: How to restore users’ control. Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, 20(1), 86–110. https://doi.org/10.1177/1783591719847545
Tigas, A. (2018, February 23). What is Internet Addiction – Symptoms & Treatment. PCsteps OÜ. https://www.pcsteps.com/14856-what-is-internet-addiction-symptomps-treatment/
Young, K. S. (2004). Internet addiction. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(4), 402–415. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764204270278