Piccadilly Pulse: Do social networking sites bring out the worst in people?

By James Briscoe and Mary Maguire

Duncan Bannatyne’s reported offer, on Twitter, to double the £25,000 reward for the capture of the man who had threatened his daughter if the tweeter’s arms were broken first, reignited the debate about whether social networking brings out the worst in people.

Referring to Bannatyne’s Dragon’s Den role the tweeter known as Yuri Vasilyev asked Bannatyne for a £35,000 investment to ‘stop us hurting your Hollie Bannatyne’ adding  ‘ We will bring hurt and pain into your life’.

 Former hellraiser Bannatyne whose empire includes three Manchester gyms has now revised the reward offer to exclude the threat, conceding ‘OK £30,000 reward for info leading to his arrest’.

Mancunian Matters took to the streets to ask the question:

Do social networking sites bring out the worst in people? 


Only those who are already angry



Elizabeth, 16, Student, Salford:

Definitely. I have had my head bashed against railings after my mum was slagged off on Facebook and I know of one girl in my school who was left in a coma when she was attacked in the toilets by a group of girls.

Dylan, 18, Student, Manchester:

Most people argue on Facebook.  They can get brave and just get into it and then everyone joins in.

Jane, 43, Children’s worker:

It is definitely a problem with teenagers who can hide behind the screen and don’t seem to realize how much harm it can cause.

Stacey, 28 and Siobhan 29, Mothers, Longsight:

It’s a great thing.  You can read other people’s arguments on Facebook. It’s quite funny.

Richard, 47, Engineer, Scotland:

It is often off the cuff one-liners taken out of context that causes the problem.  For example Tevez saying that Manchester only had two restaurants.  People can easily misunderstand because of the immediate nature of it.

Alan, 31, Vendor, Sale:

I don’t even go on it anymore cause of the arguments it caused from people stirring.

Somu, 26, Vendor, Altrincham:

I don’t experience arguments on line and use it mainly to keep in touch with friends. 

Paul, 35, IT Consultant, City Centre:

The pseudo-anonymity allows people to exhibit their worst behaviour.  My wife is a blogger and has set up a support network for other mums.  She has been subjected to some very hurtful comments.  People seem to think that it is fair game to attack someone online.  The negativity can be very damaging.

Melissa, 19, Student, Poynton:

I know of a girl who lied on Twitter about her brother having a brain tumor.  She arranged for her brother to meet a band but then she said he’d been rushed into hospital.  She only did it to get to meet the band.

Emily, 18, Student, Poynton:

There was one boy who texted his friends to about killing his ex-girlfriend.  They said they would buy him breakfast.  She also added that celebrities make it worse by having feuds.  This encourages other people to do the same.

Paul, 27, Bank clerk, City Centre:

I think it’s more anonymous (Facebook and Twitter). I don’t tend to argue with people on Facebook because I only have people I know on there. I try to avoid anything like that.


Do you agree? Do some people exploit the ability to stay relatively anonymous online to vent?

Or have times changed and is it a healthy way of releasing pent-up frustration?

And do you think Social Media sites have a responsibility to police actual threats to someone’s well-being, emotional or physical?

Leave your thoughts below

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