The Instigator
debatergorl
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

Anonymity should be allowed for social media.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/5/2014 Category: Technology
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,805 times Debate No: 60016
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (11)
Votes (3)

 

debatergorl

Con

Anonymity on social media means that one does not have to give away their identity when posting. Most of the major social media websites and apps (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Debate.org) require the user to create a profile with a username an passowrd. That way, other users can tell who is posting what. Other applications and websites are anonymous. These incude sites like Whisper, Yik Yak, and Ask.fm. A few online newspapers and magazines also allow anonymous posting.

While anonymity may be useful for protecting one's identity, the cons outweigh the pros in this situation. There are too many dangers with anonymity, and it therefore should be banned from social media. This I plan to prove to you.

Cyberbullying is one of the biggest problems among teenagers today. About 20-30% of teenagers have been cyberbullied, and about 20% have cyberbullied others. About 1/10 of the victims have attempted suicide, making it the third biggest reason for teenage deaths. Why is cyberbullying so big and widely used? It's simple. It's efficient. It's easier to get away with.

Many parents and educators are unaware of cyberbullying simply because they are not as attune to social media. If a bully is calling a kid names in the hallways, teachers can more easily spot the issue and work to fix it. Online, kids can post mean comments, mock others, and hurt many people's feelings without being caught. They still have a risk of getting caught when they have profiles, but on websites that are anonymous, the bullies can be invisible.

Take Ask.fm for example. The idea of Ask.fm is that a person sets up a page (so the person's identity is known), and they tell people to ask them questions that they have to answer. Unfortunately, the askers are anonymous. I have heard tale of countless people in tears and considering suicide because anonymous askers have bullied them on Ask.fm. They have no way of figuring out who the culprit is, and they cannot track down and stop the problem.

Yik Yak is considered on of the most dangerous social media apps out there. The idea of this site is that the user can send out an anonymous post to everyone within a certain radius (almost like a large community group chat or anonymous tweeting). Schools across the nation have seen this app used to blow up the school (in a figurative sense) in just a matter of hours. With false rumors being spread, and mean insults being sent to a large population of students, the victims have little way of defending themselves.

These examples are just a few of many. A frightening number of social media sites have anonymous posting, providing a playground for cyberbullies and a battlefield for students across the nation. We need to put an end to recess and sign a peace treaty to stop this war.

Sources: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com...
http://www.cnn.com...
http://www.cyberbullyhotline.com...
http://www.foxnews.com...
iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro


Thanks to my opponent for creating this topic and accepting my offer to debate. In fact, the topic of Internet anonymity is one I feel very strongly about so I hope to be able to create a good argument for anonymity.

Why should we care about Internet anonymity?


There are a multitude of reasons that we have seen in the past and am sure we will see in the future. Where a valid comment, blog or even debate by a person has resulted in real world consequences. We just need to consider the case of the Atheist bloggers in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh that have been jailed for saying something as simple as "I do not believe in god".(1,2) Maybe I should add that the blogger in question from Saudi Arabia is also going to get lashed 1000 times!


Now probably my opponent will point out that this is extreme and this stuff only happens in far right counties. Well this is clearly not the case for the Alabama blogger Roger Shuler who never did anything wrong in terms of defamation for 9 years on his blog. (3) Now there are two charges and jail time, even though the first amendment is probably being disregarded in both these cases.


Seems like anonymity in these circumstances would have been a good thing, and this is why I am in favor of anonymity.

Signs ups don't help


My opponent says that signing up for services will stop cyberbulling, which I will touch on in the next section again. The fact is you can still get around these sign ups and ensure your anonymity on-line by using VPNs or TorBrowsers.(4, 5) As such cyberbullying will not stop as these people will do what they always do anyway with the help of proxys etc.

The fact is the Internet is becoming more restrictive now with bizarre policies in place. For example, why do you have to give your phone number to sign up for an e-mail adress? Its not necessary, unless they want to be able to pinpoint you. Now while this may sound like a conspiuracy and probably is. Lets not forget that the NSA listening in on all conversations was considered a conspiracy too by many people.(6) High NSA peeps, I hate you :)


We need a free and anonymous Internet to be able to organize protests or parties with no fear of retribution.

Parental responsibility


A child using the Internet needs to be taught responsibility by their parents. The fact is cyberbullying can take place and will take place even if we try take away anonymity which is impossible. A responsible parents job is to monitor their childs Internet use and make sure they are not using it for bad purposes. In fact even social media used to have age limits on them, however this has all changed as parents are not taking responsibility and the companies have giving up playing parent.(7) In essence cyberbullying could be stopped by parental control, so the problem starts at home and not on-line with anonymity.


I now hand the debate back to my opponent.


(1) http://amnesty.org...
(2) http://www.christianpost.com...
(3) http://www.salon.com...
(4) http://www.webopedia.com...
(5) https://www.torproject.org...
(6) http://www.theguardian.com...
(7) http://mashable.com...
Debate Round No. 1
debatergorl

Con

My opponent made a very strong argument that I will first proceed to rebut against. Then I will reinstate my final stance for voters.

"We just need to consider the case of the Atheist bloggers in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh that have been jailed for saying something as simple as "I do not believe in god".(1,2) Maybe I should add that the blogger in question from Saudi Arabia is also going to get lashed 1000 times!"

This is very saddening to hear. Unfortunately, places such as Saudi Arabia do not have freedom of speech or religion, so people in the country posting those messages are using acts of civil disobedience. They were taking that risk and probably made a stronger impact by revealing their identity. Also, keep in mind that governments truly against freedom of speech would probably take the time to track down the location of an anonymous poster, so anonymity would not be a huge road block for those officials.

"Well this is clearly not the case for the Alabama blogger Roger Shuler who never did anything wrong in terms of defamation for 9 years on his blog. (3) Now there are two charges and jail time, even though the first amendment is probably being disregarded in both these cases."

This person was wrongfully charged. Shuler probably never even bothered to think that he would be posting something that could send him to jail because it was not a post that should send him to jail. He had every right to post what he did.

"My opponent says that signing up for services will stop cyberbulling, which I will touch on in the next section again. The fact is you can still get around these sign ups and ensure your anonymity on-line by using VPNs or TorBrowsers.(4, 5) As such cyberbullying will not stop as these people will do what they always do anyway with the help of proxys etc."

I never said that signing up for services will stop cyberbullying. I said that it would help prevent cyberbullying and make the cyberbullies easier to track down. There will always be ways to get around showing your identity. I will use the same comparison that I use against people saying that eliminating guns won't stop violence- We have drug laws, but people still trade and use drugs. So just because people are finding ways around the law, we shouldn't have any regulations at all? Rules are enforced to help discourage and prevent wrongdoing, but that doesn't mean they eliminate it totally. Bullying will always be an issue, but by allowing anonymity we are only encouraging the problem.

"The fact is the Internet is becoming more restrictive now with bizarre policies in place. For example, why do you have to give your phone number to sign up for an e-mail adress? Its not necessary, unless they want to be able to pinpoint you. Now while this may sound like a conspiuracy and probably is. Lets not forget that the NSA listening in on all conversations was considered a conspiracy too by many people.(6) High NSA peeps, I hate you :)"

This argument is irrelevant, for it is making a case against the NRA and internet monitoring. But just to answer your question- you have to give your phone number to sign up for email addresses because it is an extra security step to prevent hackers. Social media sights (i.e.- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc) do not require (though it may be optional) phone numbers or addresses and such, making this argument irrelevant.

"A child using the Internet needs to be taught responsibility by their parents. The fact is cyberbullying can take place and will take place even if we try take away anonymity which is impossible. A responsible parents job is to monitor their childs Internet use and make sure they are not using it for bad purposes. In fact even social media used to have age limits on them, however this has all changed as parents are not taking responsibility and the companies have giving up playing parent.(7) In essence cyberbullying could be stopped by parental control, so the problem starts at home and not on-line with anonymity."

Yes, parents should be taking more responsibility. The problem is that they are not. Some parents just aren't as aware, and some are not technology literate. Major problems such as cyberbullying cannot be prevented in just one way. Parents need to be aware, and the bullies' identities need to be known. It is a multi step solution.

As I stated in my opening argument, the cons outweigh the pros in this debate. While sometimes people prefer posting anonymously, this opens up too many doorways of danger. Cyberbullies can get away with their terrible acts. Anyone can post rude or mean comments without being tracked down. All in all, it makes the media world a large, vague, and dangerous sea of posts.

Sources: http://amnesty.org...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for an interesting debate. However, I do believe in your rebuttals you have shown why Internet anonymity is relevant and necessary. I will divide my arguments again as in my first round argument as my opponent rebutted them according to the sections.

Why Internet freedom

My opponent asserted the case about the Bloggers in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and the USA having been wrongfully arrested. As such my assertion that anonymity would have protected them stands undefeated. This means I have made a very strong case for Internet anonymity as it will lead to less suffering and illegal imprisonment when a person uses their right to free speech. Remember this right is a worldwide human right as endorsed by every nation that signs the UN charter.(1)

My opponent even says the Alabama blogger had "every right to post what he did." and he should never have been " wrongfully charged". Unfortunately he did and he was, but this would never have happened with Internet anonymity.

Signs ups don't help

Here my opponent and I agree that the problems (such as cyberbullying) will not change by making people sign up for social media (emails etc) or by staying anonymous. As such, with or without anonymity cyberbullying will still happen. However, as in the previous round I believe I have already made a strong case for anonymity so my argument stands undefeated.
I think however, that my point about being spied on is very important and not irrelevant as hinted at by my opponent. The fact is when you put something on the Internet, it can come back to hurt you in real life. People can either do stupid things i.e. post a drunk picture, or express opinions on social media that are justified. These actions then can have severe consequences such as losing a job.(2) However, I can state with certainty that had these posts on social media being anonymous these people would never have been fired.

Parental responsibility

My opponent agrees with my stance that parents need to take responsibility for minors using the internet. As such there is not much to debate here. However, I will point out again that the fact that social media has relented and let minors use their sites shows that the problem lies mostly with the parents and not with Internet anonymity.

Finally, I almost fell out of my chair laughing when my opponent cited a Facebook member saying we should ban anonymity. This is absurd as Facebook has a proven record of deceit, so why should we trust anything to do with anonymity when they share you information freely, as well as illegally change your posts so as to do psychological tests on you. (3,4) You need better information than that to convince anyone Internet anonymity is not a good thing, its like Hitler saying "we didnt kill any Jews."

In this debate I have conclusively shown that the Pros of Internet anonymity are far greater than the Cons as is demonstrated with the agreement my opponent shares with me on all the arguments presented.

I thanks my opponent once again for a fun debate and now I hand the debate to the voters.

Debate Round No. 2
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by debatergorl 2 years ago
debatergorl
Hahaha. Thanks for the good feedback!
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Thanks :)
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
"slim margin." Damn thing cut me off.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
@Whiteflame: You are leaving us hanging "Ergo, I vote Pro by a........"

Thanks for the solid RFD, but I really want to know that last word.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD:

You both spend a lot of time arguing past each other.

Con argues that anonymity is harmful as it allows bullies to attack others without being traced back. Pro tells me that won't solve for the problem, but I think Con's point of some benefit still stands. What that means, and how much of a reduction in bullying and suicides would accompany that, aren't ever explored.

Much of Pro's argument is focused on protecting victims of those who are bullied by the law, but it gets much the same response about impact, and I don't see Pro responding to Con's argument that governments can still trace it back. Of course, if I buy that response, I have a hard time believing that police can't do something similar for tracking down bullies, which confounds Con's argument. I thought it also would have made sense to add that it provides anonymity to victims, which means bullies can't target someone they know from school online as easily, but that argument never appears.

The rest of Pro's argument is mostly mitigation of Con's points, and this often includes statements of necessity, but this doesn't really help his case. The sole other offensive argument here comes up in R2, and just says that we have to protect people from themselves as they might post images that are damaging to them. I'm not sure this really helps his case, especially since a picture is likely to do harm even without a name attached.

So it comes down to a question of which is the worst - cyber-bullying or oppression by nations. I'm getting the cyber-bullying is more common, so Con is winning on that front. The harms of oppression are probably higher, given that few people are likely to commit suicide as a result of cyber-bullying, whereas the harms of oppression are straight up bad. So I could realistically go either way.

Hence, it comes down to discontinuity. I buy Con's argument that anonymous users can still be tracked, which dramatically harms his effective impact. Ergo, I vote Pro by a
Posted by debatergorl 2 years ago
debatergorl
Can't wait. :)
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
I will post my argument within the next day. :) Thanks for accepting.
Posted by debatergorl 2 years ago
debatergorl
Sure, @iamanatheistandthisiswhy! Let's begin!
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
I will be honored to take this debate. If you want to debate me just let me know in the comments and I will take you on.
Posted by LogicalLunatic 2 years ago
LogicalLunatic
However, might I add that Anonymity also PREVENTS cyber-bullying? Think about it this way:
Let's say I am hated by everyone on Debate.org for some reason. Well...They can't threaten me outside of the Site, since they don't know who I am. But if they knew who I was, they could say, "Adam Ross, I'm going to your town and I'm going to go to your house and beat the snot out of you."
And guess what: I'd be legitimately frightened in that situation.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
debatergorliamanatheistandthisiswhyTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
debatergorliamanatheistandthisiswhyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct, S&G - Tied. Neither gave reason to award or take away points in these categories. Arguments - Pro. This was a solid debate from both sides, with no points being dropped and both providing good rebuttals. Con built a case around cyber-bullying and how making it law would dissuade some from doing such things. Pro showed how anonymity helps protect those living under radical rule or fearing for their own security in terms of jobs or wrongful arrests. Con agreed with the point about the wrongful arrest and also agreed with the point on parents needing to be more active, so that automatically swings the favor to Pro. Additionally, Pro showed that making it law wouldn't dissuade those who know alternative means to remaining anonymous and therefore convinced me that the Pro's of online anonymity does outweigh the cons. Sources - Pro. While both utilized sources throughout this debate, the formatting presented by Pro was easier in terms of matching the sources with the cited material.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
debatergorliamanatheistandthisiswhyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I wish this debate had been longer and a bit more rigorous. This was a normative claim, and Con had BoP. I don't think she fulfilled her BoP to show why it *shouldn't* be allowed. She gave some negatives that Pro argued weren't unique to anonymity, and Pro showed some justificaiton for anonymity. Con's rebuttal (that they were being civilly disobedient and so deserved punishment) did not hold water for me. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.