Displaying one’s public opinion on the Internet is often accompanied by a response or feedback from other people with different backgrounds. Radicalization is one of the alarming effects displayed in platforms that presuppose opinion exchange (Tufekci). Among comments, one could find anyone from a terrorist recruiter to a 15-year-old boy because nicknames and empty profiles do not mean anything, which, to a certain extent, protects people from reprimands for an opinion (Yayla and Speckhard).
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The experiment conducted on Reddit demonstrated that a white male received more approval from people when social isolation was evoked than a black female did. While on average neither of the messages was criticized harshly, the black female’s post attracted more Internet trolls than the white male’s post. Such a reaction was probably due to the popularity of the topic and the fact that black people were often the ones who started it. The oversaturation of the information field with posts on social isolation seems to have created a rejection reaction towards the “populist” issue.
Excluding a few provocateurs, most of the audience who replied to the message was rather polite and offered their vision while emphasizing the weak points in the original message, which were deliberately left in it. Such reactions point towards the self-organization of the community where rules of behavior start to form with the help of moderators (Kamenetz). Interestingly, in the black female’s post people tended to avoid being overly critical.
This effect might be attributed to the overall fear of being accused of intolerance to black people as the issue is rather sensitive, which nonetheless did not stop inadequate people from responding in an abusive tone. All in all, the experience demonstrated that regardless of gender and race the majority of Redditors seem to be polite and tolerant of others’ mistakes.
Kamenetz, Anya. “Right-Wing Hate Groups Are Recruiting Video Gamers.” NPR.Org. 2018.
Tufekci, Zeynep. “YouTube, the Great Radicalizer.” The New York Times, 2018.
Yayla, Ahmet, and Anna Speckhard. “Telegram: The Mighty Application That ISIS Loves – Part I.” VOX – Pol, 2017.
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