Antisemitism and Holocaust denial are rife, just look at Stephen Fry’s X trolls
VIRAL INTERNET ABUSE, MOB PSYCHOLOGY AND MENTAL HEALTH
We begin this analysis by looking at Holocaust Denial
Stephen Fry is delivering this year’s alternative Christmas message on Channel 4.
Fry – a national treasure and a powerful campaigner on issues including gay rights and mental health – will be using this moment to raise awareness of the fact that 90 years after Hitler rose to power and almost 80 years since his crimes were exposed to the world, we are seeing antisemitism reach levels that I have never witnessed before in our lifetime.
At the same time we have seen a stark rise in Islamophobia, and many people are feeling isolated and frightened.
And so much of the vitriol we have seen over recent months has taken place and been amplified on social media platforms.
For us at the Holocaust Educational Trust, as in any modern organisation, social media has long given us opportunities to reach new audiences and to hold important conversations. Yet last month we took the unprecedented decision to turn off comments on a post on our X (formerly Twitter) account due to the sickening nature of the antisemitic responses we were receiving.
The point for our Campaign for Mental Health Justice is that internet hate is out of control, and needs to seen as a form of violence, equivalent to physical abuse.
How do ordinary, seemingly decent and educated people, come to be involved in group hate? Something possesses, them, they become infected by something the blinds them to concepts such as truth and evidence; they become cultist believers. Often one fanatical individual stirs anger towards a minority or a person who may seem vulnerable. A strong analysis was created by Dietrich Bonhoeffer while awaiting execution at the hands of the Nazis.
Groups are only collectively intelligent when the mechanism to collect information is carefully set up. If you crowd source information from a group, then the members of the group must put forward information independently of all the others.
In social media the opposite is the case: conformism to the crowd overrides objective perception and lies spread like wildfire as mob psychology takes over.
The three clips below illustrate the nature of mob psychology.
Conversely, we could consider theories of intelligence