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Way to go, society.

Inspired by a South Park episode in which one character labels all redheads as evil, some 5,000 people decided to take a silly joke and elevate it into reality by joining a "National Kick a Ginger Day" group on Facebook. The online ringleader: A 14-year-old Canadian kid, who naturally insisted it was all a gag.

Alas, dozens of attacks were reported on the ostensible holiday last week -- November 20 -- from both attackers and attackees. While some of the attacks reported are likely phony, many are assuredly real, including a pair of young Alberta girls who say they were punched and kicked at school. Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police is taking the case deadly seriously and is investigating it as a hate crime.

As absurd as this issue is -- red-haired people have not historically been the victims of any real discrimination or hate crimes -- it's emblematic of the way in which online networks can become a tool in real-world violence other and anti-social behavior. It takes a lot of effort and considerable personal risk to physically go to a meeting of, say, the KKK. But how hard is it to join a white supremacist social networking group? Or register at an Aryan Nation discussion group?

To its credit, Facebook appears to delete all such groups that it encounters -- the National Kick a Ginger Day group has also been removed -- so at least that's a step in the right direction. But people, making a Facebook group that incites violence, however tongue in cheek, is just a bad idea. We should all know by now that despite how frivolous the material on the Internet often is, no one ever seems able to get when you're joking.

Posted in Label: Diposting oleh Alexander Rahardjo  

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