Right now, at the time of writing, the internet is not a terribly nice place. In fact, it can and does literally destroy people for no good reason at all.
Echo chambers and the realities of misperceived influence aside, it is the dehumanising of relationships that every part of the internet enables and creates – illustrated at its very worst in the way that trolling, cancelling and piling-in is facilitated through social media – where many of the societal ills that we face today have exploded in to what feel like uncontrollable forms.
There is an immediate need for a code of conduct that reminds everyone to behave in the same way online as if they were interacting with whoever they are communicating with in person face-to-face.
However, this aside. The biggest issue that must be dealt with is the ability for anyone to be able to create an online personality and behave in any way they wish too, without apparent threat or risk to themselves, whilst creating untold harm.
Neither the platform providers nor the government are best suited to managing the solution to the problem. As the requirement for registering personal details to a level that will become a real deterrent to harmful and dangerous behaviour, will enable the user to be tracked in ways that could prove counterproductive and in the wrong hands actually do them harm.
We must have either one or a series of independent agencies that are governed and maintained by their impartiality. Hubs that provide a registration system for everyone who wants to engage and communicate openly on internet platforms. A process of registration that will allow them to do so using their own name – or to speak anonymously, but to do so knowing that they are effectively licensed by that register and the rules that govern it. And that they can be identified if they attack others or behave in any way beyond what communities agree should be acceptable online norms.