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So we can all agree 2016 has politically been a raging garbage fire? Well no, that’s my opinion, but hey, I’m allowed that, right? Well maybe in this case yes, because 2016 has been fucking TRASH, but, what if I were to say 2016 has been great because I feel I can be openly racist online now? Yeah, not so okay.

I’ve written before about internet outrage, but something caught my eye recently, something that just seemed so silly I couldn’t help myself touch on the theme again.

Once upon a time I studied Journalism, upon completion of the course I joined a Facebook page especially for Journalism grads. The group is usually pretty mellow, posting articles on the industry and the occasional scoop on media work about town.

Recently a certain unnamed former student, who I’ll refer to as Roy, has been posting some pretty controversial threads, wherein he states that it’s psychotic that platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are actively seeking and scrubbing out content generated by ISIS as it’s censoring “ the news”.

Yeah, pretty interesting right? Roy seems to think that ISIS have a right to their side of the story being shared as news on social media platforms. Naturally, comments started to flow in questioning why this would ever be a thing, with one commenter suggesting that perhaps it isn’t best practice to give terrorist organisations freedom to pump out propaganda. Which is when Roy said that “terrorist is the new n-word.”

Terrorist is the new n-word… I’ll let that sit so you can bathe in the implication for a while.

Judging from this extreme example, at what point is an opinion something that should be revoked? I’m pretty sure we can all agree that ISIS are a terrorist organisation who shouldn’t be granted free reign to push their beliefs into our news feed, right?

It’s the job of the media to report unbiased facts. For example when a terrorist attack has taken place outlets will report the facts and not just solely cut live to Obama who starts saying why terrorism is bad. Sure, they might include a snippet of Obama cutting sick on terrorism, or even include a quote from the organisation that’s conducted the act, but the media never just have one group stating all the facts. It’s a balanced presentation of an event, something which I can’t imagine the ISIS’ media department producing. Roy didn’t see this side of thing, he saw it as oppressing a voice, and when his thread was inevitably deleted by admins he argued he was being censored.

This isn’t the only case of extreme opinions being palmed off as acceptable. Take a look at the neo-Nazis alt-right and the conversations coming out of the woodwork on social media since America nominated to host the fourth Reich. Comments that dismiss the rights of LGBTQI groups are thrown out as though they are opinion, which for some reason makes it okay to say in a public forum.

The thing is, opinions are like arseholes, some are more disgusting than others and nobody wants one shoved in their face unsolicited. You might honestly believe that gay people are horrible and don’t deserve freedom, but by waving that opinion around you’re infringing severely on a person’s right to live, which is fundamentally unacceptable in any community. So why do people feel that they have a right to wave their arsehole around on social platforms?

News has shifted to online communities in recent years with FB and Twitter becoming sources for news, but they aren’t strictly news site. They are communities, and communities have standards. By no means am I saying that news should be censored, but social platforms are not news outlets, and passing off extreme opinions as news is dangerous.

To sum this all up, just because a thought is in your head and you have the means to communicate that thought with a large audience doesn’t mean you have the right to do so. Censor yourself every once in a while so people don’t have to be exposed to the bullshit in your brain.

 

*Words by Charlie Braithwaite

**Art Direction By Ainsley Jade.

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