In most countries in the world the influence of Social Media has been growing exponentially over the last decade or so. More and more The People find it as the way to express themselves – often anonymously – about their feelings, often negatively. Of course certain people like Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and in Holland Sylvana Simons know that their behaviour leads to a flood a reactions on Twitter etc.
Here in Spain the social networks are filled with messages about the death of bullfighter Victor Barrio in Teruel’s bullring last Saturday that can only be described as disgraceful. Aside from the insults and gallows humour that have been posted, there were many expression of happiness at the death of the bullfighter. Regardless of whether one supports or opposes bullfighting (as I do), it must surely be clear to anybody with a minimum of sensitivity that celebrating a death is plain wrong.
In any event, the many dubious comments that have been posted on the social networks over the past couple of days celebrating the death of Victor Barrio certainly haven’t done animal rights groups any favours, and most have unequivocally distanced themselves from them. (As in Holland in the Simons case) the public prosecutor’s office here in Spain is looking into whether these tweets and Facebook comments constitute threats or incitement to hatred, while the family of Barrio has hired a legal firm that will also look into whether those who have posted hateful messages can be prosecuted.
The social networks can be a dangerous place for people who cannot control their feelings: they feel able to say things via a smartphone they would almost certainly never dare to say to somebody’s face. Some of these comments are signed, but many of the more insulting are anonymous. The social networks can be an unpleasant place as well, especially when there are so many unpleasant people prepared to launch attacks from behind the guise of anonymity.
A sad side to progress.