The social media network that’s worst for bullying is…
Or, if you’re a 4Chan user, it’s Tumblr. And if you’re a Tumblr user, 4Chan has got it in for you. So perhaps it’s 4Chan.
I’ll try to explain…
At the end of November we ran a poll to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week 2014, asking you which social network is worst for bullying.
We also asked if you’d ever been bullied online and to explain why you voted the way you did.
By 1 December it was shaping up to be a shoot out between the two biggest social networks, Facebook and Twitter.
And then somebody on 4Chan.org’s /pol/ message board – a space on that highly unsavoury site reserved for politically incorrect, er, outpourings – noticed our poll and saw an opportunity to take a swipe at the social network they love to hate, Tumblr.
If you’re curious about what happens on /pol/ let me spare you a visit – at the time of writing this paragraph its first page features a cartoon dog, ascii art toucans, a swastika, antisemitism, homophobia, racism, an argument about male and female stereotyping in computer games, a photo of self harm, some hard core pornography, and a few other things I won’t write but might have trouble forgetting.
The users of 4Chan have an huge appetite for mischief and malarkey too. Only a few months ago they were working hard to convince iPhone owners they could charge their phones in the microwave.
On 1 December an anonymous contributor to /pol/ posted this message:
Naked Security- a Facebook page with 250k likes- is doing a survey on which social networking site is the worst for bullying.
Given all the bullying they've done to try to encourage cultural degeneracy, I think we can all agree that tumblr deserves to win.
With that, the die was cast and Tumblr started to soar ahead of the other social networks in our poll.
Some 4Channers had so much to say about Tumblr they got tired of typing it and used bots (computer programs) to say it for them – over and over again.
One helpful entrant used the survey comments to warn us that 4Chan were scamming us but they needn’t have bothered. When the goblins and gremlins of that site get to work they leave clues…
Inadvertently Naked Security had stumbled into hostilities between 4Chan and Tumblr that have been rumbling since the summer.
Sub-cultures on both social networks have come to embody, respectively, the worst of political incorrectness and taking nothing seriously (4chan), and the worst of political correctness and taking things far too seriously (Tumblr).
But while those factions are poles apart in their beliefs, the way they act on their beliefs can appear very similar indeed:
- To treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner
- To make (one’s way) aggressively
- To force (one’s way) aggressively or by intimidation
Bullying behaviour is tolerated or even encouraged in areas of both sites, provided it’s done in pursuit of the prevailing cultural dogma.
That, I think, is the internet’s yin and yang – users seek out and talk to people with similar opinions (something beautifully illustrated by Gilad Lotan at Betaworks) which gives us everything from GitHub to #GamerGate.
This is obviously not a scientific study and our poll participants are self-selecting. Naked Security has almost ten times as many followers on Facebook as it does on Twitter so we might expect some bias towards Facebook in the poll. Apply your salt pinch now.
We de-duped our results to remove any obvious, repeated interference from the same source and said goodbye to more than half of our data.
We then looked at what was left in three ways – what happened prior to 4Chan’s obvious involvement, and then what happened after, with and without Tumblr.
Prior to 4Chan’s interest in our poll, at the end of 30 November 2014, Facebook was leading Twitter in our poll and Tumblr was nowhere. By the end of the poll Twitter had overtaken Facebook and, if we exclude Tumblr, it was the clear winner.
Image of girl at computer courtesy of Shutterstock.
10 comments on “The social media network that’s worst for bullying is…”
To be fair, at least according to the posts my friends link to or screenshot on tumblr, there is a LOT of bullying going on. In contrast, I use Twitter once a week and Facebook daily and see very little. It may be specific circles that determine this, however.
Oh yes, there’s plenty of ugly behaviour on tumblr. And some of the folks from 4Chan who took part in our poll provided some good examples of deeply unpleasant bullying there.
Most disturbing to me is the ability of large groups to dehumanise victims and justify their bullying in the name of some cause – be it social justice or lulz.
Your point about circles is correct but what’s interesting about Twitter and Tumblr is how your circle is effectively dynamic and made up of people who want to see you, not the other way around.
That allows for the sudden arrival of enormous mobs of people at your virtual doorstep if you say something out of turn.
For celebrities, twitter is the worst. But for everyone else tumblr is, by far, the worst. Especially if you hold any social or political view that leans right. Just look at how often the pieces of ish on tumblr rabidly harass CommunismKills.
I’ll be honest I voted for Tumblr after seeing the link for the poll on Imgur about the 4chan request. I did not let 4chan sway me in anyway. I have in the past been on Tumblr and it was horrible. I was literally bullied right off the site to the point of me deleting my account because I chose to have my own beliefs rather than pander to the herd mentality. I am not the only one in my circle that has been pushed around by them. Most everyone I know is on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Google +/Snapchat/Vine and Pintrest, and we all avoid Tumblr like the plague. At least with 4chan they know they are full of shit and are doing it for the laughs, Tumblr is so unaware of their hurtful actions and like to play the victims when something doesn’t go their way. I believe that if other sites had not made us aware of the poll you would have not gotten a fair representation of what it is really like out there having to deal with cyber bullies and where they most likely hang out.
I think it’s all very sad that adults are acting like tweens saying things that make other adults acting like tweens cry.
…then you post a Poll to see which group of adults who act like tweens are worse…
Partly interesting, but too many variables to draw any conclusions. A true demographic study into this should be done. We should at minimum get some questions about social behavior and social networking behaviors and experiences into the national census. (which also should be more regular to be meaningful)
Honestly, I voted for Tumblr because of my previous experience of being horrifically bullied there. I have since deleted my blog and never went back.
Tumblr is a place obsessed with “justice”. But it’s not a “justice” that looks into facts and logic based on the statements; it’s “justice” based on an emotional response and personal opinion, and that’s why it’s so ridiculously dangerous.
When it boils down to it, Tumblr is not fighting for equality on the issues their bring up. What they believe is “”Equality is not the answer to oppression!”
They believe that they should fight any and all straight, male, white, and “cis” people, as they have oppressed females and POC in the past.
God forbid you be all of the above, because then, whatever piece of logical, sensible argumentative fact that comes out of your mouth is ignored and deemed as “oppressive” because it came out of your mouth.
Doxxing threats, death threats, promises of aggression, etc. All of this because I did not share the same opinion as the majority. I stated my opinion in a way that simply said “but that’s only my humble opinion!” with no threats of harm and simple, calm, logical back-up of why I thought the way I did.
I did NOTHING to warrant the aggression that was shown to me.
But I guess acting on emotion will cause the hivemind will evolve into a riot like that when things are structured like that.
I am white, male, straight, cis, and very much older. I have never had any sort of problem on Tumblr where I have had two blogs for the past (nearly) three years. In the poll I voted Twiter because of its ability to go completely global in an instant over something that is often, at best, trivial. Where I have seen issues on Tumblr is when someone actually picks a fight and won’t let it go –that person (blogger) is quickly shouted down. A lesson there, don’t pick fights and then whine when you get clobbered. A second lesson, don’t give out what you can’t or won’t take in return.
What a farce. It has to be bots used by people from 4chan and not just the simple fact that just THAT many people consider tumblr the site with the worst bullying on the web?
TIL person doing poll on bullying on the web got threatened by tumblr to drop them from the list.