Correct me if I’m wrong, but a huge portion of people – on all social media platforms – have taken cyberbullying to new heights, depths, and lengths. From creating fake profiles, to writing comments that contain extremely harsh criticism, to sending mean private messages, to hacking other people’s profiles, and finally, to sending messages that contain serious death threats — some Internet users have truly mastered the art of cyberbullying.
The Arab region is no exception to this general abundance of Internet trolls. Making fun of people or just flat out being hateful towards people, is a daily routine that Arab and non-Arab Internet trolls share.
I personally do dislike Internet trolls, this article is not by any means an attempt to justify their actions. That being said, the purpose of this article is to question the true ability of Arab public figures when it comes to dealing with this sort of bullying.
By now, any individual with a public profile, on any social media platform, is a possible and legitimate target for the toxicity and hate of Internet trolls. It should not be surprising, therefore, that public figures provide ideal targets for Internet trolls.
What is truly surprising, however, is when I see a public figure getting extremely shocked and/or offended by the toxicity and hate present on the Internet. From posting videos or writing long posts with the purpose of explaining themselves and/or actions, to deleting posts which received inexplicable hate, to panicking and apologizing, Arab public figures exert a lot of effort when it comes to responding to Internet trolls, and their hate.
While I do not by any means intend to dictate upon anyone the appropriate response to such hate, I will say two things. Firstly, public figures have always been a target for hate and rumors, since the printing press was invented (and even before the invention of the printed word, no public figure could spare his/herself from from people’s sharp tongues and harsh judgements).
This inevitably means that in a world where every single citizen can be at any give moment a photographer, videographer, and writer (and sometimes all three simultaneously), it should really be no surprise that the price of fame is a disproportionately high amount of gossip, judgement, and hate. This brings me to my second point.
If you do choose to become a public figure, please know and understand what you are signing up for, before you take that step towards becoming one. Indeed, you need to develop much thicker skin, and a much more lax attitude towards what others may or may not think of you.