Author: sarahwornow7

All Anonymous Posting and Commenting on the Internet Should be Banned


CON (3 arguments)

1. Removing anonymous posting and commenting damages the right to free speech.
Warrant:

People are only truly free to say what they wish when they do not have to worry about being personally persecuted, either by peers, strangers, or their government, for what they are saying. Removing the right to post anonymously increases the pressures people feel to post in a particular way, and thus limits the extent to which they can speak freely. A study done by Auburn university found that 89% of anonymous posters would not post if they had to reveal their real names. This is a significant loss to people’s freedom of speech. According to a study done by the University of Arizona, “Anonymity purportedly minimizes status differences, liberates team members from a fear of retribution, and makes members feel more comfortable contributing to discussions.” 50% of the people in a Livefyre study who have commented anonymously said that it was for politics. Many people have been persecuted because of their views, beliefs, or characteristics about them. “News reports of cyber bullying, gang violence, criminal activity, and suicide fueled by social media is shocking and troubling,” says the Citizens Crime Commision of New York. In an online provoked fight over pictures or comments, people are unlikely to back down because of the large audience. “Posts have led to people getting hurt [and] killed.” Violence is an unavoidable consequence of having a differing opinion, and often the only way for one to exercise their freedom of speech is to post anonymously online, connecting to our first point.

Impact:

With 89% of anonymous posters feeling provoked of their freedom of speech we can see huge limitations on the which could lead to them feeling as though they cannot speak. This idea of limiting speech through fear of the consequences is highly dangerous in limiting our rights. The Constitution is the basis of our entire American government and a unique document that distinguishes the United States as a leader of human rights. By openly violating our freedom of speech, we would be allowing the rest of the Constitution to be violated, which would have many negative effects. Humanity progresses through differing or new ideas; if one makes an idea, and people personally critique or question it because the poster’s name is online, the creator will stop there and not feel the need to innovate or make anything better. If people don't feel welcome to share their opinions, productivity would decrease on the internet.

Sources:

The New York Times

2. Banning anonymous posting and commenting would violate our right to privacy.
Warrant:

Privacy is a basic human right. The internet is not an exception to this. People should be able to comment without giving away any personal information, because they have a right to keep that information private. Z posting is the reason people can do this, and it is important to make sure people have access to this. Taking away anonymous posting would be taking away their privacy.

A bill introduced by Tom O’mara, a New York state senator, in 2012,

“A web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate. All web site administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.”

This bill did not pass due to its invasive nature. But the truth is, this would be necessary to get rid of all anonymous posting and fake internet identities. The whole concept puts people at risk for identity theft and loss of privacy as they are forced to relieve information any time they post online. In an age where posting this information online can affect future future hiring and college acceptances, keeping your private life private is an important part of future success. Without anonymous posting, this is impossible.

Impact:

If anonymous posting were banned, and a bill similar to O’Mara’s was passed, much of the online commenting, all of the anonymous commenting, and people’s privacy would be gone.

Sources:

The New York State Assembly

3. Stopping anonymity online does not meaningfully prevent bullying. In fact, it may increase the amount of bullying.
Warrant:

Internet anonymity is not essentially to bullying: it can be done through a nearly infinite number of media. Importantly, it is not even essential to anonymous bullying. For example, it is quite simple to send anonymous text messages: all that is required is access to a phone that the victim does not have the number of. It is similarly easy to simply write notes or letters, and leave them in places where the victim will find them. Anonymous posting on the internet is far from the only place where these kinds of anonymous attacks are possible. Some people choose to come out or express their identity anonymously to prevent people from knowing who they are to prevent them from getting bullied.

Impact:

All this policy does is shifts the bullying into areas where they may be more difficult to monitor. Rather than sending messages online that can be, albeit with some difficulty, traced back to the perpetrator, or at least used as some kind of evidence, bullies are likely to return to covert classroom bullying that can be much more difficult to identify

Sources:

New York Times