TDs and Senators lined up during the week to lambaste social media companies Twitter and Facebook over trolling and anonymous accounts. A meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Local Government examining political advertising campaigns was the occasion for politicians to take the companies to task for their sins, and they are manifold.
Anonymous abuse is a recurrent problem with social media output and the toxicity and bullying that has flourished in recent years is reprehensible. Politicians, however, also need to examine their own social media use as it is far too often the enemy of context and nuance and has compounded the problem of the decline in the quality of public and political discourse. Recently, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris launched his TikTok account amid a blaze of publicity announcing he had “finally taken the plunge” and was “not sure I quite know what I’ve let myself in for” but wants to use it “to keep in touch with you, keep you up to date and share a few insights”.