When the network turns on you – online anonymity and cyberbullying


We talk of cyberspace as a libertarian utopia with each individual node in the network having the ability to broadcast to the entire network. Cyber-libertarian tropes are all for privacy, the end of regulation, the end of authority and for decision making to reside solely with the ends (nodes). But with this notion of cyber-libertarianism comes the right for people to choose anonymity online. It is this anonymity that poses real threats to network users. When users subject themselves to network vulnerability and open themselves up to a public network of randomised anonymity and hate, what can be the outcome?

This Prezi delves into the idea of anonymity and the frightening risks it poses to cyberspace inhabitants.


Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 2.04.27 am

featured image source: http://www.outsourcing-pharma.com/Clinical-Development/Parexel-expands-its-clinical-trial-site-network-to-speed-drug-development


7 thoughts on “When the network turns on you – online anonymity and cyberbullying

  1. This blog is great as you have touched on aspects of cyberspace that we haven’t yet explored in the lecture…’ the idea that individuals can become anonymous and use this as a tool to harm other nodes in the network’. My blog also touches on anonymity in the world of online dating. Cyber bullying can come in may forms..whether it is communicating via text, uploading embarrassing images or using online information as a means of leverage. We hear everyday of people being harmed or embarrassed by actions carried out in cyberspace and in this increasingly distributed network it causes us to question ‘who is monitoring, controlling and taking care of these victims?’ Extremely informative and intriguing blog! I love the use of prezzie as an engaging mechanism, including stories and images! x

    1. thank you for your awesome feedback! Oh anonymity in online dating sounds interesting! i’ll be sure to check out your post. Cyberbullying is definitely a sadly common phenomenon and I’m glad we have the space to discuss it. Thanks again !

  2. Wow, great prezi on a topic that we don’t really discuss much in DIGC202.

    I find it quite ironic, and almost paradoxical, in how I strongly oppose the misuse of online anonymity, yet hold the values of Barlow’s Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace in a high light.

    The horrible cases of online bullying, such as that of the highly publicized suicide of Amanda Todd (2012), a direct cause to the cyber-bullying she suffered, still shock and surprise me today. The gravity of anonymity is something much more powerful than what most people (especially kids) give credit to.

    Aside from anonymity, the internet also allows us to recreate ourselves as a new persona, the online persona. We can even hold multiple online personas. But like anonymity, the effects that you can get from them, positive and/or negative, depend entirely on how you, as a user, use it.

    Once again, a fantastic prezi, loaded with info. Great work. If you’re interested (or anyone else), here’s another list of some unfortunate cases of cyber-bullying:


    However, anonymity, can also arguably be used for good. The cyber-activist (or “hacktivist) group Anonymous are a famous anonymous (hence the name) group, of an unknown number of members, which became famous for their hacking work, (generally) in the name of freedom and liberty. An online Robin Hood, if you will.

    1. wow thanks for your amazing feedback. I agree, I’m not quite sure where I stand in terms of online anonymity and if it should be controlled. It is also interesting to consider the way people shape their online identities in a way that is different to their actual real-life selves. For example, people on Facebook who only highlight the best aspects of their lives such as travelling and their best ‘selfies’. I’ve blogged a few times about the concept of Facebook envy and facebook depression, they’re in the category BCM210 if you are interested in reading a little bit more. Thanks again, interesting stuff!

  3. With the notion of cyber-libertarianism, people can post anything they please and, as you say, with the ability to be anonymous. Sadly people choose to use this priviledge to cyberbully others. I think cyberbullying particularly affects children and teenagers who are at that fragile developmental stage of life. It’s sad that young people will almost allow the internet to define them. But in saying that, maybe the internet, or more specifically, social media sites shouldn’t be allowed for people under a certain age? Or the option to remain anonymous is stopped. Then a further question would be how can this be regulated?… All really challenging questions and issues sparked from your post and prezi!

    The man who did not salute Hitler in that famous photo shown in class got killed for his liberal actions. Yet we have the right of remaining anonymous, choosing to harm others with this right, and having no price to pay… I welcome you to the internet.

    1. thanks for your interesting comment. They are very complex questions and I really don’t know if age restrictions and anonymity could ever be controlled. Yes that Hitler example is definitely a sad example and something that hopefully wouldn’t happen today with online anonymity, so I suppose there are definitely positives to anonymity. complicated subject. Thanks for your feedback!

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