Is there a future for the online world if we don't protect the users? #DBBM
It was in 2004 that we really started to feel the responsibility of this and I wrote this Blog Ethics/ethos at Ecademy
which has over 23,000 views and over 80 comments now.
The result was that we created a Charter 'Ecademy Community Values'
I think this was a critical part of our history as this helped the members at the time know what to expect and what not to tolerate and as a result, on the whole, Ecademy has remained a 'good place' where anyone who treats someone badly or 'bullies' soon gets advised that this does not work on Ecademy. I see this as the same way that we would manage any community, even a family. "Understand what it means to belong and respect those people who have made their commitment to each other".
I feel deeply about the opportunity that lies within the Internet for business and for humanity, but I live a life of fear most days for the way that people are being hurt and how abusive this online world can be.
We take this responsibility very seriously in Ecademy, so much so that we have made extremely tough decisions in the past when we have been made aware of abuse, bullying and harassment. The legacy of some of these decisions lives on, but I will never regret them.
Since 2004 FaceBook has become stronger, I have been shocked by their lack of values and ethos and feel it is time that there was a statement about what behavior is acceptable between members.
In the past I have seen the way my children have been targeted, and we have all heard the terrible news that suicides have taken place due to bullying. What is so shocking is the amount of bullying that goes on between adults even in a business environment. My children are amazed when they witness or read that adults can be bullies too!
There isn't a week that goes by that someone doesn't ask my advice on how to handle a problem on the Internet or a news items doesn't hit the papers.
Stalking through networks is becoming more and more common. I have someone doing this at the moment on my mobile phone and it is very distressing to say the least.
Over the weekend, I received an email from a very close contact who said she was considering taking her own life due to the way she is being stalked and her reputation is being damaged by the stalker. Today in the Daily Telegraph an ex-TV presenter talks about death threats being made by a 'cyber' stalker.
Unless you have been at the end of stalkers who hunt you like prey through Google Alerts and chose to make your life hell you will not know the damage it does to you. It is one thing being stalked but also imagine this 'stalker' being determined to ruin your livelihood. This is the reality of adult 'cyber-bullying'. It becomes very personal when they are preventing you from feeding your family.
When I contacted Vodafone about my 'stalker' the girl was desperate to get me off the phone and her best suggestion was that I changed by mobile number. A mobile number I have had for 15 years and provides my link to clients and members. I became the victim through their attitude. I asked if there was any counseling service offered. The answer was 'no', she suggested I spoke to the Police and basically gave the responsibility to the Tax payer to fund an investigation.
This is a very difficult aspect of the Internet but it is only going to get worse. If ethics and values are not explained and a culture is not clear within an organisation that makes it's money out of 'citizens of their country' then as a 'global network' we could see a place where the 'bad and angry' survive, but the meek stay away and become more isolated.
Thankfully there are more incredibly good people on the Internet than there is bad, and you could say that it is the same in the terrestrial world, however, the viral and public nature of the Internet gives the bullies and the stalkers a fabulous flow for their cruel intentions.
So my question to you is this..
What do you think the responsibility of the 'network' owners should be and how could they protect their members and ensure that the good promise of this 'connected world' is achieved?
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