Animal Rights Freedom Correspondent

Freedom of Expression or Freedom to Troll?

Ever feel like someone is stepping on your toes, getting in your face and telling you what to do? Yeah, me too! Well, it has to stop – now. We are all free to be who we want. Hey you, get off my cloud! –Freedom Correspondent

The first hundred times I got accused of being overly critical with what others post online, it seemed silly. Especially because the blame was always in response to something that in my eyes seemed politically incorrect, such as online bullying, racism or silly jokes about one’s culture or freedom of choice.

I always laughed at people calling me a fault-finder. I am not a media watchdog and honestly speaking I have no powers to censor anyone. As much as I would’ve loved to control the level of online abuse, no one has granted me permission to stroll the internet handcuffing people’s opinions and dragging people I like the least to jail.

While I always had my freedom to express things, I usually tried to keep my negative emotions to myself. Over the years I’ve understood one simple thing- everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whether I like it or not. Quoiting the French philosopher Voltaire: “I wholly disapprove of what you say, and will defend to the death your right to say it.”

But what I’ve always struggled to understand was “trolling”. Sadly enough, it seems to now be viewed as an acceptable price to pay for having a voice, for the illusion of freedom.

Of course, there are instances when to tease someone is okay, it’s funny and it gets across someone’s honest opinion on the matter, but how do you define when it goes too far… When it’s no longer fun, but rather a hate crime, “trolling” or cyber bullying?

We all know that the freedom and anonymity the internet provides makes some people do odd, ill-defined things. Whereas most wouldn’t have a nerve to insult someone face-to-face, many have no problem doing it online.

Exhibit A: Twitter. Tell me honestly, how many times have you seen genuine, legitimate looking Twitter users searching for trouble?

If some of my friends were as argumentative in person as they are on social media, I would most certainly delete them from my phone book.

How strange it is that centuries of learning about morals and manners can be undone in the time it takes someone to compose and post a few lines on Twitter…

Let’s make it clear! It’s okay to express yourself publicly and on the web, but it is never okay to bully. Ask yourself- how would you feel if someone was openly harassing your child, partner, parents or friends?

Throughout my experience working for the fur trade it became apparent that when we, professionals, refute lies or misinformation about the industry online, it usually takes minutes before a cyber-bully tries to shut down the discussion.

Rather than open-mindedly engaging in the conversation and getting to know the true facts, so-called “trolls” prefer to shoot the messenger with some angry comments.

A few of my colleagues take it personally, but I don’t get offended anymore when bullies call me names or suggest I do nasty things to myself.

I suppose it’s better to be verbally abused but to be able to speak the truth, rather than to become a marionette, allowing animal rights activists to take an upper hand.

As you know, I always defend one’s right to freedom of expression, whether I disagree with it or not, but if the vicious lies and slander leveled by activists against the fur trade for the past 50 years were detected at any other group in a society, they would be denounced as hate crimes.

I think it’s time that animal activists were exposed for what they are: intolerant bullies with little understanding of modern environmental thinking.

The reason I say this is because just a few days ago there was another case of online cyber-bullying by animal rights activists.

Activists were posting negative (1-star) reviews on the Canada Goose New York store site. That’s wrong. While I understand activists are completely against fur, they shouldn’t be imposing their opinion on others.

We should take a moment to set the record straight! While it’s important to be able to have freedom of expression it’s wrong to dictate others what to like or hate.

There is only a fine line between joking and cyber-bullying. And while I am okay with first I will always fight against the second.

0 comments on “Freedom of Expression or Freedom to Troll?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *