Sir Cliff Richard spoke candidly in his recent television interview with Gloria Hunniford, about the anguish he endured after being falsely accused of historical sexual offences.
Police dropped charges due to lack of evidence, but Sir Cliff’s life will never be the same again.
He wants the law to be changed to protect the identity of those being investigated for sexual offences until they are charged.
He also commented there were those on social media who appointed themselves as jury, judge and executioner.
He said many wrote shocking, vile things about him on the internet, even though he had not actually been found guilty of any crime.
For him their nasty comments won’t be easily forgotten.
He’s not the first to be cyber judged and attacked.
We’ve been shocked before by the venom of internet trolls mocking the death of children and torturing grieving relatives with their sick remarks.
Our advanced digital technologies have given us a place to congregate in cyberspace from where some can heckle, jeer, judge and torment others.
I’ve watched with interest lately the interactions on social media between those who are letting their preferences be known online regarding whether to leave or remain in the EU.
Logical argument has been impossible for some.
Horrible exchanges have taken place on the likes of Facebook, with people trying to intimidate or bully others because their beliefs don’t match those of their own. Abuse has been rife between both camps.
The funny thing is, if these people were standing face to face they would no doubt be less vocal and politer in their views.
The anonymity enjoyed from behind a keyboard makes many more daring in expressing themselves.
It fascinates me the way some people use social media.
Some cyber bully others constantly, others use the net like it’s a link to the spiritual world, talking directly to late loved ones as if they are standing by their graveside.
They leave messages on special anniversaries or birthdays, or Father’s Day, examples of which read like; ‘You were the best dad ever, thank you for all you did for me. I love you’.
For whose benefit are these messages for? Do they
think the deceased has access to Facebook from the next world?
Messages are posted too on Twitter by celebrities and others when someone famous dies, again as direct speech to the deceased.
The way some people choose to use the internet is almost spiritual.
Some psychologists are of the opinion that the internet is like a new religion.
Research has shown that while fewer people are claiming a religious affiliation and even fewer attending church, the number of those using the internet are increasing.
Facebook alone has 900 million members.
Religion for many has always been a guide to what is seen to be good and what is seen to be evil in the world.
The internet assumes that role too. Very quickly people can be vilified without any evidence as to their alleged trespasses, or they can be cyber-canonised in an instant for a good act caught on film.
We make saints and sinners of souls in the blink of an eye in cyber space and millions have access to the aspersions cast upon people there like those on Sir Cliff Richard.
The people whose names are blackened online then have to live with it.
Monica Lewinsky said when it comes to bullying and accusing people via social media we should try walking a mile in someone else’s headline.
It’s a risky business for those flocking to the net in search of truth in spiritual or factual form. Finding truth there is impossible because of the discrepancies that occur in human interactions as well as differing religious traditions.
I recently interviewed a well-known celebrity for my charity book for Alzheimer’s.
When I checked with her if it was alright that I had included a short biography on her in my book, which I’d taken from Wikipedia, she told me that not a fact written there about her was true.
Even her birthplace was inaccurate. She had no idea who had supplied the information there.
I recently came across a quote on the net which sums up perfectly much of the content found on information highway, it said: ‘‘Don’t believe everything you read on the internet – Abraham Lincoln.’’