When we talk about pushing for a more positive and selfless social media experience, there is generally very little mention of the Kardashians. This week however…
Who's doing it right!
Believe it or not, today's inspiration comes from a member of the Kardashian clan! The woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner became a brave face for the transgender community in her debut as Caitlyn Jenner - as the latest cover model for Vanity Fair. Arguably the most controversial cover girl in the history of the publication, Caitlyn candidly discusses the experience in videos that have quickly gone viral. While the cover is sure to become an iconic landmark for the LGBT community, it also symbolizes Jenner's own liberation: "As soon as the Vanity Fair cover comes out I'm free."
Way to go Caitlyn! Being yourself and bravely taking a stand in the face of public scrutiny will make forever make a difference to the LGBT community. This is a great example of how the power of social media can drive society forward.
Who's doing it wrong…
Unfortunately, bullying on social media got a boost from the United States Supreme Court yesterday when it overturned the prison conviction of a man who used his Facebook account to threaten his wife and others.
"The case involved Anthony Elonis, a Pennsylvania man who used FaceBook FB to make a series of violent rants against his wife and others, often citing the rapper Eminem and using hip-hop lyrics. He claimed his rants did not amount to 'true threats,' and that his comments were jokes and a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment."
The ruling is devastating as it will set a precedent of being able to bully and harass on social media, free of legal consequences. This is sadly reminiscent of the kind of hate-speech we all remember from #GamerGate. Cyber bullying has received a lot of attention lately, but our legal system hasn't yet adapted to protect. I also thought freedom of speech drew a line at threats to your fellow man? (The First Amendment protects people's right to express their beliefs and opinions, not overtly threaten others' wellbeing.)
"…prosecutors must show that the writer in question actually meant the words to be threatening."
Essentially, this gives scumbags the leeway to post all the threats they want until we can obtain evidence to legally prove their intent to make good on them. We can do better, and need better laws around social media that protect free speech but are also better able to shield victims from outright harassment.
Bruce Jenner now Cailtyn #CaitlynJenner