Mr. Nice Guy

Posted: November 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

Most of the research I have done on how social media networks, school and parents are working to eliminate cyber bullying, entail battling the phenomenon with other forms of technology. This generally includes advanced software or applications that can be utilized across various platforms. Nothing wrong with this if it is effective. I did, however, find one method that is taking the old approach of using technology to combat cyberbullying, and making some adjustments to it so as to place more emphasis on the humanistic aspect of users.

Arturo Bejar, who is the director of engineering for the Facebook Protect and Care team, is attempting to evoke empathy from Facebook users to correct any harm that may have been done by a nasty post. He believes many Facebook users may not be aware of how hurtful some things they say can be and will feel bad and will be willing to retract comments if they realize they were offensive. Bejar points out the fact that human beings read one another’s tone of voice and facial expressions when communicating, but this is lost when communication is done via devices. In response to that, Bejar has created tools that allow users to elaborate on why they have reported a post as offensive. For example, when reporting a post, it can be labeled as “its embarrassing”. Interaction via the reporting tool has gone from 50% to 78%.

When teenagers have used these features of the reporting tool, only 20% of them actually used the form. Once Facebook added descriptive language such as “feelings” and “sadness”, this number grew to 80%. Bejar has concluded teenagers just need an outlet to express their feelings. He also indicates when asking users why  they made an offensive post, they admit they thought it would be funny or would be like by their friends, not to alarm anyone, surprisingly.

I think Bejar’s plan of appealing to people’s feelings when making posts is a brilliant idea. The numbers (earlier reported on this blog) don’t lie. Of course, cyberbullying is still happening on Facebook, but at least now we know attempting to humanize one another through technology is an effective start.

 

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Comments
  1. hanskohler3 says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I agree that one should manage better in social media avenues with those type of bullying. At the same time it is hard since the availability of anonymity being an option. So, should we perhaps put cyber-bullying as a against the law mandate that would investigate and find those anonymous people? Would that go against the free speech and/or the rightful internet for all type of thinking?

    Like

    • aad2168 says:

      I think implementing such a law would not be a bad idea as ip addresses have lead investigators to cyber bullies in the past, but I wonder how to initially define an action as cyber bullying if it is not an extreme case. I cant wait to see how the law will address this. Thank you for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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