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Cyber Mob Mentality

Updated on August 31, 2012
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There seems to be a growing trend on Facebook recently, with a number of celebrities being targeted by the cyber equivalent of torch-bearing mobs. These virtual vigilantes are intent on bullying a number of celebs into granting wishes of children afflicted by deformities or rare diseases.

One such example of this is Taylor Swift. One of Ms Swift's fans, teenager Devon Whitney, recorded a message for the star asking her to accompany him to his senior highschool prom. Devon, who suffers from a rare disease called Oto-Palatal-Digital Syndrome, used index cards in place of speech on a video aimed at his favourite singer, and it wasn't long before the video went viral, prompting Facebook users to begin a campaign in favour of the singer accepting Whitney's request. As yet, Ms Swift has not responded.

Christian Bale

Christian Bale has also been harassed by internet users, demanding that he take the time to visit the children who were victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting in July 2012 - a Facebook page titled, 'Christian Bale Please Visit The Kids', has over 3,000 likes, and over 4,000 fans currently 'talking' about it, meaning that the page is as popular as ever. Bale did actually visit some of the shooting victims, but whether that was because of mounting pressure from fans, or a voluntary act of kindness, remains to be seen.

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Virtual Bullying

These kinds of campaigns can bring a celebrity bad press, especially if that person is unable to fulfill the requesters' wishes. With modern networking allowing for news and gossip to spread like wildfire, it is easy for things to spiral out of control, and the celeb be painted in a poor light, labeled as 'selfish' or 'uncaring' by the media and public.

The fact is, regardless of how dedicated some may be to a celebrity, we as the public do not have the right to dictate the actions of that celebrity. Having a disability or a problem does not entitle someone to impose upon famous people in such a way that it eventually turns into a form of bullying. Worse still, the person who may have originally made the request for a celeb to visit them (such as Devon Whitney) is made out to be a villain by some who accuse him of using his disability to gain an unfair advantage, which is certainly not true.

Many people will argue that a celebrity is obligated to make the paying public/fans happy, because without those fans they would not have achieved the status they enjoy. But realistically, it soon stops being about the fan who made the request, and more about a media circus and a photo opportunity. Surely it would be far better to allow celebs to make their own choices about who and who not to acknowledge - at least that way they can't ever be accused of making a kind gesture solely to avoid bad press, but instead, did so out of the kindness of their heart.


Fictional Campaigns

Following closely on the coat tails of this mob culture are the sickos who start Facebook pages showing a photograph of (for example) a baby hooked up to a life support monitor, with the caption, "for every like this baby gets, so-and-so will donate a dollar to save his life".

The fact is, these posts are nothing more than attention-seekers using a very inappropriate subject to see just how popular their page can become, and people truly believe that by clicking 'like' on the post, and sharing it, that they're helping a sick or dying infant. Not true. They're helping feed the attention deficit of an internet troll who has nothing better to do with their time than pray on the kind hearts of some Facebook users.

Taylor Swift gets asked to boy's prom.

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    • P Andrew Treutz 1 profile image

      P Andrew Treutz 1 4 years ago from Calgary, Alberta

      I agree with you completely, Mazzy. The celebs are put in an awkward position in that they either accept or are made to look bad or uncaring. And once the floodgates are opened, where will the demands end? And with whom?

    • BritInTexas profile image
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      BritInTexas 4 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

      I agree. No one seems to know whether Christian Bale visited the Aurora victims because he wanted to, or because he was 'bullied' into it.

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      It puts the celebs in an awkward position, because if they do comply, it looks as if they are just doing it for publicity, and more and more demands would follow. It's probably better if they ignore it. If it never worked, they would possibly stop doing it.

    • BritInTexas profile image
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      BritInTexas 4 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

      Agreed, psychicdog! It certainly makes my blood boil to see such trolls using images of sick children, just to satisfy their need for attention.

    • psychicdog.net profile image

      psychicdog.net 4 years ago

      Thanks for bringing this to light BritInTexas - trolls with attention deficits! There really should not be any pressure on anyone to make an unvolunteered act of kindness - it is a form of bullying for sure.

    • P Andrew Treutz 1 profile image

      P Andrew Treutz 1 4 years ago from Calgary, Alberta

      Precisely.

    • BritInTexas profile image
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      BritInTexas 4 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

      Well put, Andrew. I don't want anyone thinking I'm attacking the original person for at least attempting to get their favourite celeb's attention - this is about the mentality of those who use Facebook to 'gang-up on' said celeb and try to coerce them into complying.

    • P Andrew Treutz 1 profile image

      P Andrew Treutz 1 4 years ago from Calgary, Alberta

      Nicely said, Sarah. And to me, it IS like a cyber torch-carrying mob intent on forcing a celebrity to agree to their demands (suggestions). If they don't agree, their good names will be dragged through the dirt, even if that was not the intent of the original person's wish.