Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Revenge 'a dish best served on web'

Twitter and Facebook are among the social networking sites being used for 'revenge', according to a poll

More than half of the UK population claim to be contemplating revenge and social networks are the preferred platform for getting even, new research has found.

The rise in popularity of Twitter and Facebook has made it easier and quicker to settle scores and almost seven in 10 (69%) people polled said online tools are responsible for people's thirst for payback.

More than half (52%) said they were currently thinking about getting their own back on someone while almost four in 10 (38%) confessed they had already sought revenge out of anger, jealousy or spite.

Work colleagues are the most popular target, followed by friends and bosses. Adultery is the transgression most deserving of revenge according to a third of Brits, followed by lying (19%) and stealing (9%).

Research also found that more than one in 10 (13%) believe people in the public eye deserve abuse on social networks if they are perceived to have done something wrong.

Half of the 2,000 people polled to mark the launch of Hell on Wheels, a new Western TV series from TCM charting the vengeful exploits of a band of outcasts in post-civil war America, said they believed most revenge now takes place on Facebook.

The ease of typing a quick message over confronting someone face to face was seen to be the primary reason, with 57% saying it was easier to take revenge online than in person. A fifth (22%) said their preferred outlet for revenge would be through Facebook.

More than a quarter (28%) of 18-35 year olds admitted to getting their own back after someone posted an embarrassing photograph of them on a social network and 14% of 18-24 year olds said they would be more offended if someone "defriended" them on Facebook than if they stopped speaking to them.

Professor Frank Webster, head of sociology at City University in London, said: "While certainly alarming, these findings are by no means surprising. We have long known that there's a lot of anger bottled up inside people.

"Getting back at those who've crossed us and wreaking revenge is so much easier and instantaneous when it involves a Twitter jibe or a Facebook slur. We can even do it anonymously, with little fear of consequences."

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