In Kuwait, everyone is vocal about their political disagreements, religious or ideological stand points. Naturally, the line between having a public discussion and venting steam in the comfort of our homes is clear to everyone, at least in the real world.
But when tapping on a screen, we tweet, post or reply with the awareness that we got the whole world’s attention, and our uploads and comment may stay as long as the internet. Perverts, extremists and zealots have a chance to slander and disturb more victims than they can possibly imagine.
In response, many countries have passed ‘cyber’ laws to fight these socially destructive activities, but do they really work? And what about the cyber laws in the Gulf states? Are people even aware of them?
On Twitter, I have received multiple messages from various accounts of people calling themselves “spiritual healers”, inviting me to break “the evil eye”, or to get the one I love to marry me only for KD 5, as if throwing away money would be helpful in trying to get married, or to tell me about the future. It is frustrating to me when I remember that not everyone is aware that they are able to report these tricksters who rob their hard earned money, both in Twitter and in a real life court. Sexual extortion is another matter that needs to be discussed, as well.
People talk about how funny and tragic it was, when an elderly man stripped himself for a young girl’s webcam after she promised to do the same, then it turned out to be a mischievous male teen from another continent, who recorded all of that artless “humanity” that appeared on his screen. Ashamed and defeated, the 60 years old had to pay that youngster the equivalent of $10,000. Unfortunately, international laws are not yet fully aligned with each other to secure and protect social media users from such ordeals, yet within the borders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, if such a deal was made, the users will be fined heavily for posting or commenting any suggestive or explicitly sexual materials, other than these of educational purposes. What about politics?
Everyone is talking about the head lining stories of this famous snapchat user going to jail for insulting official government members, or the instgrammer who intentionally wanted to mock a famous singer only to get fined thousands of dinars. Surely, it isn’t debatable that insults or verbal abuse should not be tolerated?
But what if a comment simply challenges the status quo? What about these vague sexually oriented engagements that cannot be detected? And what about other kinds of tricksters, who have degrees in psychology or cosmetics, yet do not sell or offer a legitimate service to their customers? Most of all, what about buying fake “likes” and “retweets”? Such inquires, will be satisfyingly answered in my next article.
By Jeri Al-Jeri