Anonymous Unpopular Opinion Pages
Freedom of Speech or Dangerous Lack of Accountability
As someone who found the concept of a place where anyone can post their thoughts and feeling that differ from the cultural and societal norms intriguing, I was shocked to find that these pages contained large amounts of blatant hate speech under the guise of “unpopular opinions”. When you first look at these pages you see posts such as “Yellow skittles are the best flavor!!” or “Picasso is an over hyped artist and should not be one of three artists any person who does not know about art knows of.” Or even “Billie Eilish is an industry plant and was potentially created in a lab.” Even if you don’t agree with these you can think about it for a moment, shrug, and move on.
Yet the more you scroll the more you are faced with “opinions” that are thinly veiled homophobia, racism and sexism being voiced purely because the writer can say it without anyone knowing that they feel these ways about these groups of people, something they feel but know is not acceptable to voice publicly. I could very well list examples of this that I have come across but we have all seen comments like this littered across the internet and as I go to re type them to show examples my hands shake and my blood boils. Typing hateful and offensive things for the purpose of an example seems counterproductive and I would rather not expose any reader to that and perpetuate the circulation of hateful ideas.
This is where the individuals who run these pages, as well as people who share these “opinions” in question make the argument that it is wrong to not post everything that is submitted. They claim that it is going against freedom of speech and prevents self-expression to not allow these submissions to be posted and shared alongside the rest. If you are already posting a bunch of opinions that are not your own and providing a space where people can anonymously share their unpopular opinions why would you only post ones you like? Does that not defeat the whole point of it?
To those people I say: no, NO it definitely does not. There is a big difference between filtering through and not posting opinions that are harmless just because you don’t want to and filtering through and refusing to post things that are homophobic, racist or sexist. It is not hindering freedom of speech to have disclaimers saying these actions will not be tolerated or posted and refusing to post hateful things even though it is an “anonymous unpopular opinions” page. It is refusing to perpetuate a cycle of hate and not giving people who want to say awful, demeaning, nauseating things a veil of anonymity where they can’t be talked to, debated, or held accountable. It is not silencing someone, it is taking a microphone away from racists, homophones and sexists. You are not kicking them off the internet or telling them they can never talk about things they want to; you are making them do it publicly if they think it needs to be said so badly, and having them be personally accountable for their actions.
On any other forum if you post something blatantly hateful you are held accountable by the scrutiny of others and the fact they can reach out to you to tell you that not only are you wrong but that you are also saying things that are offensive. Yet on anonymous opinion pages we have unintentionally created a space with no personal accountability that is being taken advantage of. These pages could have been a fun thing to post quirky preferences but as humanity as a whole is a steaming trash heap that is not the case.