The former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen has come forward accusing Facebook of creating more hate speech and violence online, which will also harm the young generation and democracy on Oct. 4, 2021. This brought her under the light also made people think of this issue seriously. Similarly, in 2020, Sophie Zhang also reported about the Facebook fake-engagement and the political manipulations. She argues that Facebook is not acting out of malice, but rather slapdash, haphazard and concerned with self-preservation and public relations, according to Wikipedia.
As one of the biggest social media platforms, Facebook has its own uniformed army and huge user base, with nearly 2 billion active users monthly, let alone the big influence it creates over the world, and all of us could be involved in this, also our young generation. Then why do other Facebook staff haven’t shown their concern about those issues earlier, then we can fix it before it’s too big? And why do they simply accept it and “work in the dark?” Huge pay could be a reason and also worry about the lawsuit, but one of the biggest reasons we can find out in one murder case which happened in 1964.
On March 13, 1964, a 28-year-old bar manager Kitty was attacked on her way back to her apartment at 3 am, she was screaming for help loudly, her neighbours, 37 of them have woke up and seen the attacker stab her to death, while none of them has come to help nor called the police. This phenomenon inspired some researchers to study why people were so cruel and didn’t act apathetic and indifferent, which leads them to the ‘Bystander effect’.
The bystander effect, is a social psychological theory that states individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when there are other people. Social psychologists Bibb Latane and John Darley conducted several experiments to compare help given by bystanders who are either alone or with others, they found out that victims are less likely to get help if there are too many people around, and they are more likely to get help if there’s less person. In a nutshell, they summarized that as the number of bystanders increases, they are less likely to identify the accident, less likely to care about it, and less likely to take any actions.
Then how to reduce this effect? Arthur Beaman and his colleagues revealed that if we understand why the presence of bystanders inhibits helping, then they become more likely to help in a group situation. That’s the reason why researchers inform their students about the bystander effect and hope to let more people know, hence, change can happen.
You know it now, so you can also change and offer help no matter how many bystanders are beside you. But it does not only stop here, as we talked about the Facebook whistleblower, so imagine if there are more people who get to know about this within themselves, then maybe more whistleblowers would show up and they can start to make changes. More importantly, as a social innovator, changemaker, social entrepreneur, or simply a citizen, a human, if you witness any social problems around you, then don’t wait for others to take any actions for you, try to avoid the bystander effect and take your own actions to make changes and ‘offer help’.
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