Twitter was once a neat way to make new friends and absorb breaking news, but it’s since devolved into a vessel for anonymous racism and vicious public shaming. And as nuance no longer has a place on the social media network, who can blame its clientele for not double-checking the name of the accounts they wish to shame?
Now, disreputable rag the Daily Mail deserves all the prods it gets for its sensationalistic, often misogynistic content. Just look at its awful cover from last Tuesday, which featured Theresa May, the prime minister, and Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland. Instead of focusing on the duo’s meeting, which concerned Scotland’s future in light of Britain’s departure from the European Union, the paper instead led with this:
People were angry, rightly, but their attempts to condemn the Daily Mail had an indirect effect on an altogether innocent bystander: the Daily Mali, a local paper in the African country. And while the Daily Mali wasn’t happy about the case of mistaken identity, that didn’t stop it from also condemning the Daily Mail’s cover.
After the Daily Mali’s tweet, a well of empathy emerged for the account’s moderator, who was no doubt in over her or his head.
The lesson here is: If you’re going to shame, at least shame the right person.