Society/Culture Toxicity of social media

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RobbieGray17

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 19, 2007
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Has social media always been this toxic? Maybe covid has exacerbated all of this negativity but it's impossible to go onto social media without seeing such negative and vile comments posted between people with opposing thoughts or ideas, or people just out to troll. To me, it seems that social media has gotten worse in 2020 to the point that if I log into Twitter, I see a long list of posts with the left attacking the right quite negatively, which fuels the same political divide in the comment section. I accept that we don't all have the same values and opinions but I feel the social media environment is creating such a negative environment which seems to be in direct contrast to the goals and outcomes of the people supporting their own cause.

I believe there are powers at play who are deliberately bringing about a divide among the population and we are seeing it more so in the USA. I'm also aware that there are many fake and bot accounts on social media that influence this toxicity among the general "Sheep" in society.

Personally, I don't want to continue wasting my time glossing over this rubbish which ultimately is set about to create this divide the population and I think I'll be better for it.

Thoughts?
 

Roobs321

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 28, 2008
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It has grown over the last decade. You see it in the evolution of forum dialogue and the web in general, just a change in tone and more overt focus upon lucrative controversy. Personalized dumbed-down content, rampant misinformation and lacking information literacy skills among the population, and people of diverse backgrounds intermingling, projecting and stereotyping. The world and all its bad habits and ruthless advertising has annexed the online space.

e.g. Look at any C7 promo. They seem to deliberately edit and cast them in a way which says "please hate me" to the audience. They feed on human flaws. The more shallow and superficial and general the social media is, the more alike it tends to be. If the audience at home isn't quipping together about what they are watching, they might be changing the channel or distracted on their phones.
 

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Admiral Byng

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Yeah, it has always been a bit like this.

Social media was invented with the best of intentions and promised all sort of benefits. But it is equally open to all the bad things mentioned. It seems to get used more for the negative things than the positive things. Just human nature I guess. The default level human nature is pretty sh*t, social media lets people express the worse side of human nature without consequences, so it becomes an outlet for that. I could say all sorts of rude things about your mother on social media and the worst thing that could happen is being banned from the platform, if I said it to your face in a room full of people things might be different.
 

Seeds

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Sep 15, 2007
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Has social media always been this toxic? Maybe covid has exacerbated all of this negativity but it's impossible to go onto social media without seeing such negative and vile comments posted between people with opposing thoughts or ideas, or people just out to troll. To me, it seems that social media has gotten worse in 2020 to the point that if I log into Twitter, I see a long list of posts with the left attacking the right quite negatively, which fuels the same political divide in the comment section. I accept that we don't all have the same values and opinions but I feel the social media environment is creating such a negative environment which seems to be in direct contrast to the goals and outcomes of the people supporting their own cause.

I believe there are powers at play who are deliberately bringing about a divide among the population and we are seeing it more so in the USA. I'm also aware that there are many fake and bot accounts on social media that influence this toxicity among the general "Sheep" in society.

Personally, I don't want to continue wasting my time glossing over this rubbish which ultimately is set about to create this divide the population and I think I'll be better for it.

Thoughts?
What does toxic mean in relation to social media?
 

Seeds

Hall of Famer
Sep 15, 2007
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Yeah, it has always been a bit like this.

Social media was invented with the best of intentions and promised all sort of benefits. But it is equally open to all the bad things mentioned. It seems to get used more for the negative things than the positive things. Just human nature I guess. The default level human nature is pretty sh*t, social media lets people express the worse side of human nature without consequences, so it becomes an outlet for that. I could say all sorts of rude things about your mother on social media and the worst thing that could happen is being banned from the platform, if I said it to your face in a room full of people things might be different.
Why would it be different in a room compared to social media?
 

Chief

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Dec 1, 1999
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Yeah, it has always been a bit like this.

Social media was invented with the best of intentions and promised all sort of benefits. But it is equally open to all the bad things mentioned. It seems to get used more for the negative things than the positive things. Just human nature I guess. The default level human nature is pretty sh*t, social media lets people express the worse side of human nature without consequences, so it becomes an outlet for that. I could say all sorts of rude things about your mother on social media and the worst thing that could happen is being banned from the platform, if I said it to your face in a room full of people things might be different.

" The negative bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on these events. Also known as positive-negative asymmetry, this negativity bias means that we feel the sting of a rebuke more powerfully than we feel the joy of praise.

As humans, we tend to:
  • Remember traumatic experiences better than positive ones
  • Recall insults better than praise
  • React more strongly to negative stimuli
  • Think about negative things more frequently than positive ones
  • Respond more strongly to negative events than to equally positive ones
"

So if you're trying to get a toe-hold in social media, running good news is not going to get you far.

It's been the realm of current-affairs shows for a few decades now. Where shows like 60 Minutes and A Current Affair did actual interviews, now they are as likely to talk about scary immigrants, back pain, and financial scams EVERY HOUSEHOLD MUST KNOW ABOUT!
 

Malifice

Moderator
Oct 2, 2007
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Has social media always been this toxic? Maybe covid has exacerbated all of this negativity but it's impossible to go onto social media without seeing such negative and vile comments posted between people with opposing thoughts or ideas, or people just out to troll.
It's always been there, but it's rapidly accelerated in recent years due to deliberate manipulation by State (and non State) actors. And by deliberate I mean, State actors are using metadata put through complex algorithms to create frighteningly accurate psychological profiles of people and spam deliberate falsehoods tailored to and directed at those people, in an effort to create viral stories (seeking to discredit news media, destabilise the government, drive social discord and literally alter the nature of our accepted shared reality).

On a less Machiavellian note, similar practices are being used by actual news media outlets and others. Websites use tracking data and analytics to determine what people are reading and clicking on. The more reads and clicks, and the more likely you will see stories of that nature in your news feed.

Ever wondered why you keep seeing stories about hot american female school teachers seducing young boys they teach, but you almost never see stories of male school paedophiles? Or why stories about social media personalities saying or doing something weird also seem to always make headlines, but the USA and Russia withdrawing from Nuclear non proliferation treaties gets barely a mention?

It's because the former stories get 10 times the readership and clicks, so news outlets will consistently run them as major stories on websites, right there on the front page. This (in turn) creates a skewed perception of reality.

The use of meta-data runs from the reasonably benign (tailored advertising) to the terrifyingly Orwellian (Russian hacking).

There is a reason why the Russians and Chinese have their own versions of Facebook and other social media sites, and have national firewalls. They use that firewall to stop outside manipulation of their populations via cyberwarare by State actors, and to more easily collect metadata on their own citizens for propaganda purposes.

As much as I hate to say it, we should be doing something very similar.
 

ShanDog

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Aug 12, 2012
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I think social media is toxic mostly because of two reasons (one of which everyone is quite familiar with):

1. Obviously it removes the physical aspect of disagreement and enables anonymous posting which encourages people to troll and say more extreme things. Forced to put your name to something and say it in front of the person you are writing to, most people are very different in-person. Effectively, social media subtracts much of the social cost from the equation.

2. Whether generated by the algorithms associated with the platform or by our own hand as a reflection of our social groups, the vast majority of people tend to have echo chambers presented to them on social media. The things you like and agree with are often what you click, and therefore that's what the platform continues to show you. Similarly, you tend to make online connection with those of whom you agree and are alike, reinforcing the same world view and feeling of being in the right. This makes it less likely you will encounter opposing views, and when you do, you won't understand their nuance (if they have any) or why someone would have them. Effectively, social media inherently curates a personalised echo chamber that produces hostility towards those who "dare to challenge" it.
 

Seeds

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Sep 15, 2007
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People would think I'm an a-hole and shun me socially. I'd lose friends.
Fair point in regards to forums. But most of social media these days is not anonymous. Its facebook and twitter etc.


personally i think anonymous forums are more real than real life. In forums we get to say what we really think without having to worry about losing social status because others disagree with us.

its not toxic. Its truth and freedom of expression.
 

EasternTiger

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 15, 2007
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I shall tell you of social media. antifa operatives will call me a liar, but history is written by those who have hanged heroes...

There's a video out there that sent SHOCKWAVES through the advertising world.

I won't link to it because, quite frankly, none of you deserve to watch it.

The bloke in question does his presentation regularly, but not many in the general audience appreciates the significance of what they're hearing.

He explained social media thus:

Social media platforms were created by people who exhibit the following characteristics:

1. White male
2, Asexual
3, Nerds
4. Schizoid - hermit/recluse/socially inept.

They created social media in their own image.

The example he gave is the fashion industry. The 'Fashion' industry was predominantly controlled by gay men.

They created 'fashion' in their OWN image. So, the pinnacle of beauty was a stick figure model whose figure resembled a young boy. This created a 'toxic' environment for females who thought ALL men wanted them to be very skinny.

Dangerous eating disorders, drugs, pressure to be thin etc.

Straight men have been telling females 'I like big butts' since the 80's, but they never listened because they had been brainwashed by their fashion overlords. We see now that industry start to heal, and women now want glutes and aspire to be plus size models.

You often see my posts making reference to the poster living in his mum's basement. I do that not to be mean, but to point out that you are, by your toxic and volatile posting, becoming the ideal 'stick figure' model for your social media overlords.

He said a bunch of other stuff, but I couldn't be bothered enlightening you anymore.

If you're on a toxic social media platform, just ask yourself 'Was this platform created by a nerdy white asexual male?'

Get out of 'mums basement' and go smash 10's like your old mate EasternTiger :cool:

P.S. None of the above applies to Bigfooty. Chief is alpha as fu**!
 

Herne Hill Hammer

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Jun 22, 2008
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It's like watching the professional wrestling. Everyone knows it's scripted except for the lefties.

1.Divide and conquer.
2. Never break kayfabe.

;)
Nothing scripted about the WA hatred for all things eastern states and in particular Victoria nor the QLD hatred for NSW and Mexicans (Vics).

Without footy as a distraction and the seemingly harmless rivalry that, that produces. COVID-19 has brought out the genuine dislike that's always been there.
 

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EasternTiger

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 15, 2007
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Nothing scripted about the WA hatred for all things eastern states and in particular Victoria nor the QLD hatred for NSW and Mexicans (Vics).

Without footy as a distraction and the seemingly harmless rivalry that, that produces. COVID-19 has brought out the genuine dislike that's always been there.
Agree. Especially the folk from WA, my goodness! You just can't reason with them when it comes to football.

I believe in that case it's a generational thing, with hatred of Vics passed down from father to son, mother to daughter. Of course, the other problem with the lovely people of Perth is they are 2 hours behind...in the year 1954 lel.
 

the_interloper

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Aug 1, 2006
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Social media seems to make people think they're protected or something. I think it's similar to how people act tough when driving (middle fingers, tooting, anger etc) whereas if they were walking past the person in the street they'd never act like that.
 

Evolved1

Holding red and black cards
Jun 14, 2013
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Has social media always been this toxic? Maybe covid has exacerbated all of this negativity but it's impossible to go onto social media without seeing such negative and vile comments posted between people with opposing thoughts or ideas, or people just out to troll. To me, it seems that social media has gotten worse in 2020 to the point that if I log into Twitter, I see a long list of posts with the left attacking the right quite negatively, which fuels the same political divide in the comment section. I accept that we don't all have the same values and opinions but I feel the social media environment is creating such a negative environment which seems to be in direct contrast to the goals and outcomes of the people supporting their own cause.

I believe there are powers at play who are deliberately bringing about a divide among the population and we are seeing it more so in the USA. I'm also aware that there are many fake and bot accounts on social media that influence this toxicity among the general "Sheep" in society.

Personally, I don't want to continue wasting my time glossing over this rubbish which ultimately is set about to create this divide the population and I think I'll be better for it.

Thoughts?
Like you say, the proliferation in use of bots is a big part of the problem. The divide might not be nearly as big as is being portrayed.
 

RolandF1

Club Legend
Feb 11, 2012
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Having been on forum platforms for over 20 years, toxic culture has always existed online. Back in the day it wasn't taken as seriously and laughed off as 'it's just the Internet'. You can even see it in some old posts in this forum when someone drags up a 15-20 year old relic and some of the dialogue being too inflammatory for today's crowd.

These days there are more people online and more opportunities to create waves over anything. Especially with bloody celebrities and those who worship at their feet.
 
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RolandF1

Club Legend
Feb 11, 2012
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Has anyone explained what toxic means yet?

does it mean people disagreeing with you?
Have you never been in a toxic work environment where certain individuals intentionally make the work environment unpleasant for the rest of the group through their actions or words?
 

RolandF1

Club Legend
Feb 11, 2012
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Unpleasant how? You mean bullying? If so why dont we just say bullying rather than toxic.
Well... It's a primary characteristic sure. But for a workplace it can also include overworked/stressed employees, nepotism, office gossip, meritless promotion over others, constant arguments/disagreement, and the overall managerial styles of bosses going up the chain.

I guess from a social media point of view it's the bullying, gossip, inconsistency of those who get sanctioned for negative comments while similar comments go unnoticed, the persist arguments, and the overall mob mentality that can occur when someone gets outrage at something and others just blindly believe it's true. It gets to a point where, like a toxic workplace, getting involved just becomes a really unpleasant, negative experience. Just waiting for the next drama to come along, deflecting away from why you got involved in the first place. It doesn't have to be targeted towards yourself but the vibe of the overall group is not good.
 
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QuietB

Brownlow Medallist
May 13, 2008
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" The negative bias is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on these events. Also known as positive-negative asymmetry, this negativity bias means that we feel the sting of a rebuke more powerfully than we feel the joy of praise.

As humans, we tend to:
  • Remember traumatic experiences better than positive ones
  • Recall insults better than praise
  • React more strongly to negative stimuli
  • Think about negative things more frequently than positive ones
  • Respond more strongly to negative events than to equally positive ones
"

So if you're trying to get a toe-hold in social media, running good news is not going to get you far.

It's been the realm of current-affairs shows for a few decades now. Where shows like 60 Minutes and A Current Affair did actual interviews, now they are as likely to talk about scary immigrants, back pain, and financial scams EVERY HOUSEHOLD MUST KNOW ABOUT!
There seems to be two massive flaws with social media;
  1. The character limit. I know this is a Twitter thing but it also applies to Facebook and everything else. Everything is delivered in a tiny empty package as a simple slogan. No one can or wants to dig deeper and everything and everyone is dumber for it. Social media has taken the idea of the headline and turned it into the whole product.
  2. Group think. The whole system is designed to promote group think - people only follow and consume and some times they even only have access to what they already agree with. All this does is reinforce prejudice and division.
 

Chief

Chugging Adrenochrome
Dec 1, 1999
92,591
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There seems to be two massive flaws with social media;
  1. The character limit. I know this is a Twitter thing but it also applies to Facebook and everything else. Everything is delivered in a tiny empty package as a simple slogan. No one can or wants to dig deeper and everything and everyone is dumber for it. Social media has taken the idea of the headline and turned it into the whole product.
  2. Group think. The whole system is designed to promote group think - people only follow and consume and some times they even only have access to what they already agree with. All this does is reinforce prejudice and division.
"The Daily Me" is what sells.
Ten years ago:
 

QuietB

Brownlow Medallist
May 13, 2008
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Great article.

Trump is actually a genius at exploiting this.

He stands in a front of a church holding a bible for no other reason than he knows that christians lean conservative, they are increasingly homogenous as a block, and if he can get that block locked away then that is a significant percentage of the vote he needs.

He is currently doing the same with law and order.

He always does it with he 2nd amendment - Trump does not give a sh*t about guns, but he likes the voting block.

As a society he is dividing the USA into little blocks that he can pick and choose between to get enough votes to win the next election.
 

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