You’re not the internet police

Dear well-intentioned people on the Internet thinking of doing something nasty and destructive out of a misplaced sense of self-righteousness,

I am not comfortable with you tracking down people who write offensive and nasty things on Facebook and contacting their employers.

You are not the Internet police. You are not 4chan. It is beneath you, and it changes no minds. It marginalises rather than educates. It’s indistinguishable from bullying.

Would you like everything you’ve written on a computer to be sent to your employer? Or certain edited highlights? No?

Then don’t do it to others, no matter how horrible they might be. You’re better than that.



13 responses to “You’re not the internet police

  1. The idea of dobbing racists in to their employers reminds me of kids tattling to a parent or teacher and hoping they will dole out punishment. We shouldn’t be treating bosses as moral authorities and giving them even more sovereignty over us than they already have.

    It reminds me a little of the debate that erupted recently over how pizza chain Papa John’s should have responded to the employee who referred to a customer as “Lady Chinky Eyes” – firing the employee or educating her on ‘cultural sensitivity’. What is the boss’s role – to punish or to educate? Who else’s role should it be?

    I wish there was some other way of responding to such gleeful racism, but I can’t think what that might be. I was shocked to read those casually hateful Facebook comments, and realised that this is a totally different, alien kind of internet than the places I hang out. Maybe I do live in an inner-city leftie fairyland after all. *sips latte*

  2. We shouldn’t be treating bosses as moral authorities and giving them even more sovereignty over us than they already have.

    Exactly. Beautifully put.

  3. I agree. Pointing out their racism and explaining why it’s wrong – perhaps even publicly inviting them to something to show them how wrong their views are – is a much better approach than taking it into their workplace. If they do something in their own time it has fuck-all to do with their boss. The result of telling their employer is that the racist is just going to whinge about political correctness gone mad. It solves nothing.

  4. I have to disagree with you here. Those kids who took on the racist comments made after the ad were responding in the only way they had at their disposal. Nine times out of ten if you try and “dialogue with these clueless prejudiced idiots you get told to shove it – or far worse if you come across the hard-core racists and neo-Nazis.

    It is not the job of the ordinary non-racist person (hopefully the majority of our population) to take on the haters. Governments could and should be doing far more. That’s where the “education” part comes in – not some naive expectation that everything would be all right if we just “dialogued”.

    If I had staff in my business I certainly wouldn’t want to employ someone who was so insensitive – does not make for good customer relations and makes for a very uncomfortable and unhappy workplace. After all, would anyone like to be a potential target for racist or bigoted abuse?

    Social media has made it possible for hitherto marginalised xenophobes to crawl out of the woodwork and spread their hate to a far greater extent and to a wider audience than before, and it seems to have sent a message to the less intelligent that it is OK to spew prejudice on public forums.

    And eventually the law will catch up, but it hasn’t as yet.

  5. I wouldn’t like everything I write to be sent to an employer, but then I don’t write racist things on a profile that has my employer’s name.

  6. racism is not on and, as much as people try to pretend otherwise, the internet *is* the real world – or, at least, a small part of it, but real nonetheless. these people made the connection between their own personal, casual racist banter and their employers on their own – by having both available on their bookface page. link made. whether it’s government, companies, or some snotnosed brat on a beach in victoria, we will take them down, one by one. that will be our legacy.

  7. Er. Jeremy, why is it relevant to any of us whether you are not comfortable with it?

    I’m not comfortable with you collaborating with racism by defending racists.

    Looks like we’re at an impasse!

  8. If some shitty little moral cretin wants to publish racist or homophobic sputum in a public forum, then I support his right to do so.
    However, free speech is worthless if the speaker is unwilling to stand by his or her public statements and accept whatever consequences might arise from same.

    Hate speech is poison.
    Let the pricks get a taste of their own toxins, I say.


  9. Splatterbottom

    There are too many self-righteous thought police in the world as it is. They are probably bigger jerks than the people they are persecuting. If these tools get it wrong they will cause damage and hopefully they will be held accountable for it.

  10. Jeremy – welcome to my world!!

    You argue that dragging racists in front of their employer in an attempt to damage them professionally is wrong and Donald (above) accuses you of collaborating with, and defending, racists.

    And don’t make the mistake of thinking you can reason with him – it doesn’t matter how often you point out that criticising the unfair prosecution of someone isn’t the same as supporting the behaviour of that person – Donald will just keep on calling you a racist. Because that’s how stupid fundamentalists operate.

    Apparently extreme self-righteousness excises any requirement for rational, reasonable or even moderately consistent argument. You’re asking difficult questions about the broader wisdom of their campaign against the enemy, and so now you’re the enemy too.

  11. narcoticmusing

    While I would support a person upholding and defending their rights if they were defamed, vilified, etc on a public forum, I also do not think it is in society’s best interest that vigilante’s be judge jury and executor (or dibber dobber in this case) when they do not have all the facts/circumstances nor the impact of thier actions. The entire reason vigilante ‘justice’ is abhorrent is because it doesn’t consider the facts – merely on the impression the vigilante has – and it doesn’t consider the consequence and proportionality of the response.

  12. Speaking generally, as far as I’m concerned people should be able to express their opinions, thoughts or beliefs without fear of reprisal from their employers. Providing that commentary is unconnected to the workplace.

    Any employer who thinks they are in a position to censor or instruct how an employee behaves in their personal time away from the job is probably not one worth working for in the first place.

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