Facebook: Political discourse or cyber bullying

by Alex Powell and Alex Malm

A common theme is arising with GOP ‘s front runner and likely nominee Donald Trump’s rallies; political protest and violent retaliation. This type of fierce protesting and anger fueled rhetoric is not unique to those who attend the large scale rallies for many Americans, because they see it every day, on Facebook.

Scrolling through ones news feed people are bombarded with a plethora of political posts. One senior at Franklin Pierce said, “I see political stuff all day every day.” The posts themselves are platforms for political protesting to begin, advocating ideas of how liberals or conservatives should view and address one another. People are forced into making decisions on how to respond to posts and possible backlash. They can either ignore it, comment, like, or protest the posts. Some of these responses often grow uncivil.
In the new age of social media and the ability to hide behind a computer screen people are able to express their views without fear of being “kicked out of the rally,” and essentially can cyber bully people that they don’t know. Cyber bullying has been around for a while now, but has grown to numerous numbers with the rise of technology. From anywhere in the world people are able to use personal attacks to advance their political ideologies on the fellow Facebook followers or so called “friends.”
For the innocent bystander perhaps in search of puppy videos, it’s not much different than being at a rally. The question is what does one do when they see these often hatefully charged attacks.

“Most of the time I see political posts. Sometimes I see vulgar language against Trump but I just skim by it and don’t really read it,” said sophomore Emily Quinn. For the original poster, they are put in a tough spot when the attacks turn personal. Political posts often create discussion via comments. This can create a virtual war zone for mutual friends of the original poster and turn an informational post into a battle of ideologies with the potential to turn ugly.

The question becomes do you delete ones comments, and block them from seeing posts, or continue the attacks to happen for all is fair in love, war and politics. Yes if Facebook was held live in a venue it would be no different than political rallies you see on TV after all.

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