`` Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt `` Essay

824 Words Dec 3rd, 2015 4 Pages
Technology evolves much faster than humanity’s understanding of how to ethically use it. One profound example of this disconnect, the internet (and by extension social media), spawned what is commonly known as “trolling”, or the deliberate act of attempting to irritate someone through making malicious comments. Some trolls, empowered by their anonymity, have driven individuals to suicide or tormented the families of murder victims. Julie Zhuo of the New York Times discusses the phenomenon of anonymity licensing poor behavior in her article “Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt”. In the piece, Zhuo analyzes several examples of extremely harmful trolling, granting insight into the minds of people who perpetrate it. Zhuo begins by acknowledging that while internet trolling is a relatively new behavior, philosophers since the beginning of civilization have bemoaned the corruptible effects of anonymity. For example, Plato’s argument concerning the nature of morality can be boiled down to one basic observation: moral values cannot exist without accountability. From a social psychologist’s perspective, referencing the work of long dead thinkers and reviewing a history book actually serves a practical, if simple, purpose; Plato’s conceptualization of even a responsible man turning into a thief without the presence of consequences supports the notion that trolling is merely a modern manifestation of a latent human tendency. Even good people can act incredibly poorly under certain…

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