Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The web can be a mean and nasty place...

Not just because of hatred towards silly things like Hamsters, but there can be serious damage done to people on the internet. This Washington Post article points out a troubling situation when anonymous people are allowed to comment on others by name:
The woman and two others interviewed by The Washington Post learned from friends that they were the subject of derogatory chats on a widely read message board on AutoAdmit, run by a third-year law student at the University of Pennsylvania and a 23-year-old insurance agent. The women spoke on the condition of anonymity because they feared retribution online.

The law-school board, one of several message boards on AutoAdmit, bills itself as "the most prestigious law school admissions discussion board in the world." It contains many useful insights on schools and firms. But there are also hundreds of chats posted by anonymous users that feature derisive statements about women, gays, blacks, Asians and Jews. In scores of messages, the users disparage individuals by name or other personally identifying information. Some of the messages included false claims about sexual activity and diseases. To the targets' dismay, the comments bubble up through the Internet into the public domain via Google's powerful search engine.

For me the most troubling part is that prospective employers would give this type of a forum where people are not made to identify themselves any weight in the first place. I understand the desire to create free speech but speech that is being done to try to harm someone should not allowed to run rampant thru the internet. Especially since in cases like these women, there is no way for them to face their accusers...

No comments: