Having read Kelly Smith’s article on Anonymity, I would agree with some of the points that are made, however, not all. The issue of anonymity is something that will always spark debate, however, I would argue that while it is a danger in many ways, it can also assure safety for some. While I believe that complete annonymity is never a good thing, except in extreme situations, for many experiencing crimes such as domestic abuse, it can allow the safety that they can speak and act freely without the pressure of the perpetrator coming after you.

Online Anonymity can be both a blessing and a burden, however, I feel that if used properly and safely, it can benefit someone. I don’t think that making online annonymity illegal is the way to go, however, it is acceptable to put a certain amount of pressure on services such as Ask.fm and Snapchat to require enough information to make so called “trolls” tracable. If we are to make this safe for both sides, we must have a balance. If that balance is disturbed, as has been the case in the past, it can have disastrous consequences.

As well as the obvious benefits to online anonymity, such as the ones I have mentioned above, in extreme circumstances, it can assure safety from bigger threats, especially in war zones. In recent years, among the revolutions that have taken place in the Middle East,  have been those in now overthrown governments that wanted to crush the voice of some that opposed them. Without the protection that anonymity online gave them, it would have been much more of a struggle to get where they are today, not to mention the lives that would have been lost.

If many of us changed our ways, the online community could do great things with the use of such protection, however, the actions of the few mean that many suffer as a result, in more ways than one. In this way, I am not at all trying to suggest that we are all perpetrators of such a crime, however, if we could start the ball rolling and set a good example, maybe, just maybe, the rest of the world may follow.

With anonymity, there comes two types of safety. The type that assures proper safety from violence and abuse but also the type that allows the abusers to get away with it. Perhaps, then, it is a solution to ask social networking tools such as Ask.fm and Snapchat to demand a certain amount of information which, in the case of impropper use, would allow the user to be caught and punished. It would aid the police and social networks in making sure people who use such sites and apps are doing so in a relaxed and fun way, without the worry or inappropriate content.

I feel that it is a contentious issue and because of this, no one will make the first move. It is time for cowardly social networking websites to come out and take action. If all social networks, no matter how much they may hate each other, came out and agreed on a certain set of rules, the world wide web would be a much friendlier place to be. All it takes is for you to say yes. What’s stopping you?
While I think the above suggestion would be good, I still think there needs to be protection for those who seriously need protection. This, despite need for improvement, is largely already in place, however, with any changes must come exceptions. Social networks have been juggling these issues for too long. It’s time to do something about it.

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