terrorism — The unlawful use of violence or threat of violence, often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs, to instill fear and coerce governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are usually political.
From the World report on violence and health
violence — The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.
Based on the two definitions shown above, I will now put forth my argument:
- People place shocking posts on social media sites – specifically targeting emotions such as fear, disgust and curiosity
- People are generally attracted to such posts, and emotions lead them to engage with and share them
- Original post authors depend on the resulting virality to reach their objectives: which could be motivated by political, ideological or commercial intentions. Scaremongering can be used as a political tool, shocking images can be used to attract readership, while commercial intent may lead post authors to build an audience through unethical practices.
- In the process, such posts could cause psychological harm (e.g. targeting phobias – trypophobia) to unsuspecting users (who have no choice but to see the post/video right there on their timeline)
Dear reader, think about this:
- Are authors of such posts terrorists? (I’m not referring to those who share them – but to their original authors)
- Are social networks supporting terrorist activities?
- Aren’t anti-terrorism laws applicable in this context?