cancel culture tech society

The term ‘cancel culture’ may be new but social ostracism isn’t. Making people outcasts of society goes back centuries, although the reasons for it may change over time. Human nature may be the same, but access to modern technology like social media and big tech has changed the effect of cancel culture on society. 

When did cancel culture start?

In 2017 the term ‘cancel culture’ started being heard to describe a public boycott of individuals. The term’s popularity online coincided with the #MeToo movement. Allegations of sexual harassment quickly turned people’s attitudes against the accused. 

Is cancel culture good or bad? It can surface wrong actions and behaviors by individuals and brands and hold them accountable. It can also destroy them when claims may not even be accurate. 

Cancel culture essay examples

Students at university or college will often have to write assignments about current issues such as cancel culture. Making use of online resources can help them. They can find cancel culture essay examples on EduZaurus. Studying these essay examples can help them to formulate their own ideas and come up with relevant subheadings etc. This can save them time and give them inspiration. 

Technology enables mass distribution

The effect of cancel culture on social media is that what you say can spread widely and quickly. The algorithms big tech companies develop can bring the ideas of a few to the attention of millions. On Twitter, anyone can see what you write and retweet it to millions of people. You don’t know who will read what you write, so you don’t know what could cause offense. 

The internet massively increases the number of people who can target you. Social media influencers with many followers can take up a cause, use a relevant hashtag and cause a firestorm. This happened when activists on social media called for statues honoring Confederate leaders to be taken down. 

The power of hashtags

Hashtags play a pivotal role in cancel culture campaigns. They influence the news cycle, and dueling hashtags can keep the momentum going. People feel a surge of adrenaline and a sense of inclusivity when they participate. However, the effect can be to send someone into the digital wilderness. J.K. Rowling made what was deemed a transphobic tweet and suffered from the backlash. 

Technology helps the world to remember what you said

It is very easy to search for old tweets, forum posts etc. What you said many years ago on the internet can come back to haunt you. 

Kevin Hart blamed cancel culture when he had to step down from hosting the 2019 Oscars after homophobic tweets he had made in the past came to the surface. 

One campaign called for Jimmy Fallon, a late-night talk show host, to be fired due to a video of him in blackface from 20-odd years ago. 

Prospective employers will now do a social media search before deciding to employ you, so technology makes it harder for you to escape from past mistakes. 

The financial implications of big tech and cancel culture

Big tech has led to the creation of platforms that engage people and keep them scrolling and clicking. Algorithms can quickly propel a tweet from relative obscurity into the limelight. Attract enough engagement, and the algorithms will promote it to like-minded individuals. 

Emotional posts tend to draw more engagement. The more engagement on social media platforms, the more this encourages viewership, shares and comments. This drives monetization. Larger tech companies can even control a narrative and steer it in a certain direction to profit from it. 

The influence of the media

When journalists pick up on an issue, the effect is amplified. It may be all over for a brand or person who appears to be violating some moral or ethical code. A brand that’s affected by cancel culture may have to spend millions of dollars on restoring its reputation. Competing businesses may fan the flames for their benefit, even if the claim is false. A small business may be destroyed because it doesn’t have the funds to recover. 

Today there are even companies that manage brand reputations and work to push adverse search results off Google’s front page. 

Misuse of technology and mob mentality

There is much concern about mob-like behavior on the internet. A claim may not even be true, but it can cause people to gang up on an individual or brand. Is big-tech fuelling cyberbullying? An open letter in Harper’s magazine from a number of high-profile academics showed their concern about the mob-like behavior associated with cancel culture. The letter triggered a backlash and a call for more cancellations. 

It appears that social media platforms didn’t quite anticipate the extent to which their infrastructure could be used for negative purposes. They are creating new algorithms to try and deter the wrong usage of their technology. 


Is the mass distribution of ideas a good or bad thing? Like anything else, it can be positive or negative. It makes it easier than ever to ruin individuals and brands. It also makes it easier to spread good ideas and fight for good causes. The problem with cancel culture is that outrage can spread so quickly across the internet, and it’s hard to limit the damage. Still, a lot can be improved with the right information and involvement of youth.

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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