Cyberbullying may have more adverse consequences than traditional bullying since social networks allow targeted hate speech on any individual. Hana Kimura was a Japanese female professional wrestler and cast member of Terrace House, a popular Netflix reality show (Yuko, 2020). After being harshly criticized by the show’s viewers, she committed suicide. The article does not provide examples of comments due to censorship and because most of them were deleted. Hostile verbal attacks and false accusations on social media have become the main drivers of recent young celebrities’ suicides worldwide. Kimura’s case was an impulse for the Japanese government and social media platforms to counter cyber violence. Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo pledged to apply artificial intelligence technologies to identify dehumanized online behavior, improve recommender algorithms, and ban violators for defamation or harassment. Politicians reported starting talks on the Japanese criminal law reform to preserve freedom of speech and anonymity and stop meaner comments.
Other articles reveal that cyberbullies criticized her for her lousy personality and wondered when she would die. According to Marks (2020), haters also turned to xenophobic language, calling her “gorilla,” humiliating her skin’s darkness and lack of femininity. Apparently, the defamatory comments appeared as payback for Kimura’s bad attitude towards her female co-star that insulted his fans. Sulli, the famous K-pop singer, was another victim of hate speech (Romano, 2020). The harsh trolling for promoting going braless and leaving the girl group has driven the singer to take her own life. These incidents are very similar since online abuses were triggered by challenging conservative social norms and both ended tragically. An idol fan group could marginalize hate speech by writing messages of support and back their susceptible idols. The latter may also start a discussion with every abuser to change his/her mind.
Marks, H. (2020). Cyberbullying and tragedy of Hana Kimura. The Diplomat. Web.
Romano, A. (2020). The tragic lie behind the beautiful dream of Terrace House.Vox.com. Web.
Yuko, A. (2020). Kimura’s death ignites national conversation about cyberbullying. NHK World. Web.