Ricky Gervais often compares social media abuse to a “tramp” shouting at you from a bin. The only problem with that is, when you lift the tin lid on that swirling vortex of cyber vitriol, rising above it depends on having the zen levels of someone whose days consist of farting out Netflix specials and cuddling various breeds of dog in Central Park.
Sometimes, though, maybe when it rains, Gervais climbs into the bin himself and waits for a trans person to walk past. If anyone takes offence to what he shouts at them (reports say 48% of trans people in the UK have attempted suicide at least once), he can search his own name, find his latest critic, consult his partner on a sardonic reply and include it in a Netflix special to prove how thick his skin is.
Caroline Flack’s departing message to the world, “Be kind”, glistened through the online discourse of Monday morning, yet Twittersphere toxin Piers Morgan rose early that day to whip up abuse for Jameela Jamil – another of the site’s most hounded women with a well-documented history of mental illness.
Social media isn’t safe for all until those who only cherish free speech when it’s used to make someone’s life harder are consigned to landfill. In the meantime, the block button makes for a fine tin lid.