The United Nations is taking on the very important issue of cyberviolence, but its recently launched effort has already hit a major snag.
For those not in the know, cyberviolence is the colorful term used to describe the very broad definition of online harassment. The UN’s investigation was specifically looking into mean comments against women on the Internet.
On Wednesday, the UN issued an apology for how poorly sourced its report on the phenomenon turned out. Relying on such noteworthy sources as Wikipedia, a publication associated with conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Lyndon LaRouche and the UN itself, the report on cyberviolence against women and girls was panned by both supporters and critics alike when it was issued September 24.
The prestigious international union promised that it would issue a revision soon, with much better sourcing.
But the main problem with the report isn’t its dubious sourcing — it’s the fact that the UN has decided “cyberviolence against women and girls” is an issue of such grave importance — that it commissioned a panel and a report on the matter.
It’s worth remembering that this esteemed international body comprises member states with legitimate crises. Famine, war, genocide, disease — you name it and there’s a country that has a serious problem that the UN might need to give a look at.
Some instances of cyberviolence mentioned at the September 24 panel on the subject include “deadnaming” transsexuals, which involves mentioning a trans person’s previous name prior to changing their gender. According to notorious Gamergate figure Zoe Quinn who presented this fact to the commission, it “endangers the lives” of transgendered individuals to do such a thing.
The fact that the international body would devote so much energy to fake violence when so many member states experience real violence is a testament to what really concerns the people who run the United Nations.
Similar to how the much-exaggerated college sexual assault “epidemic” gets much way more attention than the genuine rape threat against migrant women coming through the U.S.-Mexico border, the UN bureaucrats seems to care more about the hurt feelings of left-wing activists than the kidnapped girls of Boko Haram. (RELATED: Here’s One Rape Culture The Media Wishes Were Fake)
One of the more fortunate aspects about the whole charade is that no concrete proposals arose from the UN’s foray into Internet nefariousness. Most of the proposals remained vague and merely asked that governments do more to “monitor” harassment and try to reduce the “online gender gap” by getting more women on the interwebs.
But there’s a disturbing precedent set by one of the most powerful organizations in the world wanting to curb offensive online commentary.
What could be considered offensive? Who gets to decide what’s offensive? What could be the penalties for offensive content?
That’s why it’s impossible to overlook the looming specter of free speech censorship here. There’s already instances of governments intervening to eliminate online content on dubious grounds. Take for example the European Union’s “right-to-be-forgotten” initiative that forces companies like Google to delete archived resources. Germany recently asked Facebook to take down posts the government deemed “anti-migrant” in the same way the social media service deals with pornographic posts.
If the UN thinks tweets that upset left-wing activists are enough of a problem to have a panel on them at their world headquarters, then it is not unfeasible to see some government intrusion on the road ahead. Especially when the Left believes state intervention is the solution for all problems imaginable.
And if using the birth names of transsexuals is considered a serious offense, there will be a whole lot of things state power will need to censor.
Everyone can probably agree that the world of Internet commentary can sometimes be a nasty place. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and options for dealing with the nastiness that doesn’t require for Big Brother to step in.
That’s why any calls for any national or international government to deal with it is an open invitation for state-mandated censorship of free speech.
Not only is it a frivolous issue that isn’t worth the time of the United Nations, it is also a reflection of the Left’s intolerance for ideas and thoughts it doesn’t like.
The Internet is a wonderful thing. Let’s keep it that way by curtailing panels on cyberviolence.