The website Formspring is notorious for its anonymous question format, easily allowing the occurrence of online bullying. The website allows its users to harass and intimidate members in question format and, in the past, really had no way of controlling the bullying. Although most members of the older demographic are able to handle such acts of harassment, a large portion of Formspring’s users are teens and young adults; the ages in which individuals are most emotionally influenced.
The recent tragedies due to bullying were heard around the world. No one should feel afraid or intimidated for living their life and Formspring has decided to take a stand for the kids who feel that way. The website announced that they are in the process of creating detection tools of problematic content on its site, partnering with MIT’s Media Lab to do so. The MIT team aims to implement software with intelligence that goes beyond standard word filters. The team has been using natural language recognition to uncover content that could be deemed as harassing or aggressive content.
It’s sad that a social media site, which was made as a harmless way to have fun with friends, has turned into a breeding ground for online bullying. This new software is innovative and necessary; online bullying is has reached its peak this year, with countless children taking their lives due to online harassment by peers. Although I can understand the idea that Formspring is anonymous and some users who don’t engage in online bullying could be aggravated by the detection software, I definitely feel that it is a great idea. Children joke around with their friends sometimes, but other times it can go too far without them realizing the effect that they are having on their friends. Some can shrug it off, but others can be severely damaged by degrading and aggressive comments.