Internet cancel culture affects the lives of people everywhere

Can anyone online really be trusted?

Colin Gollish, Online Reporter

Imagine one day waking up to a mob of angry people outside of your door waiting to ruin your life for something that you did not do, or didn’t mean any harm in doing. This type of angry mob is now known online as cancel culture.

In current times, information is able to spread faster than anyone can imagine. Social media plays a huge role in the handling of this information on a day-to-day basis. Most people use some kind of social media every day, whether it be Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or Facebook.

People rely heavily on social media to stay up to date with current events that may not be covered on popular news outlets. However, the information that is given to them at the time may not be the most accurate depiction of what happened. A lot of the time a negative comment or accusation can stick around for a very long time.

Rumors spread like wildfire on the internet and once they get going, there is no way of stopping them. Think of it as a train having to make an emergency stop, it can’t stop in an instant and may take miles to fully come to a slow enough speed where people begin to forget it was moving in the first place.

It is really easy to say something on the internet and think there are no consequences for what is said behind a screen. At first it may seem to just be ignored by people and left in the wind for years. In the recent years, there has been a growing trend on social media called “Cancel Culture” or “Call-Out Culture,” where people are put on a pedestal of shame and humiliation for something they may have done in the past or present.

This form of internet vigilantism can cause the careers or reputation of celebrities or normal everyday citizens to be tarnished and ruined in a matter of days. However some people may even take it too far in extreme cases, and send threats or harass people that may not even deserve what is happening to them.

“It is illegal and can even be a misdemeanor in some cases to harass, threaten, or terrorize someone online,” Shelby Police Officer Jim Malczewski said. “I deal with things like this a lot, even up to multiple times a week from people.”

Many times these self-labelled “internet boycotts” are based off of rumors spread around by someone that is out for revenge or has received information from someone that does not know a full, unbiased story. With cancel culture, people are very quick to jump to conclusions and not wait to see both sides of a story.

“If it is a credible source and there is enough information to work with, I will take any online rumors seriously,” Shelby Police Officer Dennis Washburn said, “but if there isn’t a lot of information it can be hard for me to work with what I have.”

Gossip has always been a huge thing for teenagers as well, and now being able to spread it through text makes it way easier for rumors to spread. Did a friend of yours get suspended or expelled for an unknown reason? Maybe you have heard different stories about them and what had happened and believed them all. This is what makes rumors so easy to spread, because people believe a lot of what we hear from classmates that we trust.

A lie will make it half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes

— Mark Twain


Mark Twain said, “A lie will make it half way around the world, while the truth is putting on its shoes. Twain emphasized the fact that rumors spread way more quickly than the truth that may not even be known yet. It can be hard to bounce back into your normal life is someone has been spreading lies about you without your knowledge. This quote existed way before social media did and it shows how now it is easier than ever to spread misinformation on the internet.