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Imposer aux gens qui s'expriment sur le web d'utiliser leur véritable identité ne résout aucun problème et en introduit de nouveaux, comme le montre l'exemple de la Corée du Sud : moins de 1% de diminution des commentaires malveillants, réduction de la liberté d'expression et de la sphère privée, augmentation massive des tentatives de piratage des sites qui doivent désormais stocker les données personnelles des gens, coûts importants pour les sites, application à deux vitesses de la loi, etc.

Violent video games are much more likely to be trotted out as an excuse, however, in certain situations. For a forthcoming study, Dr. Ivory and his colleagues studied 6,814 news accounts of mass shootings. They found that in coverage of mass school shootings specifically, video games were more than eight times as likely to be brought up when the shooter is white than when the shooter is black.

The behaviour of the British and wider European elite towards migrants is not simple inhumanity. It is strategic inhumanity. It is weaponised inhumanity designed to convince populations fracturing under hammer-blows of austerity and economic chaos that the enemy is out there, that there is an “us” that must be protected from “them”.

It’s hard to overstate the devastation to some people’s lives from having their names published as part of this hack: not only to their relationships with their spouses and children but to their careers, reputations, and – depending on where they live – possibly their liberty or even life. What appears on the internet is permanent and inescapable. All of the people whose names appear in this data base will now be permanently branded with a digital “A.” Whether they actually did what they are accused of will be irrelevant: digital lynch mobs offer no due process or appeals. And it seems certain that many of the people whose lives are harmed, or ruined, by this hack will have been guilty of nothing.

But the harmfulness of conspiracy theory arguably goes much deeper than this. It’s not just that conspiracy belief sometimes causes people to do terrible things. It’s that attachment to the conspiracy worldview violates important norms of trust and forbearance that are central to how we relate to each other and the wider world.

It's become known as the Aarhus Model, a programme designed in Denmark's second city to dissuade young people from going to fight for al-Qaeda or Islamic State. Thirty travelled to Syria in 2013 but only two so far this year - and only one in 2014. Ahmed is one young man who was convinced, a few years ago, to draw back from the first step on a path that could have ended in jihad.

“One thing that occurs to me is the behavior of the tobacco companies denying the connection between smoking and lung cancer for the sake of profits, but this is an order of magnitude greater moral offence, in my opinion, because what is at stake is the fate of the planet, humanity, and the future of civilisation, not to be melodramatic.”


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