IT IS a tiresome truth that when people post on social media, they sometimes become detached from the words they type. Some psychological studies of soldiers suggest that it is easier to kill someone when you can’t see the whites of their eyes—from a bomber, say, or a drone control room. Likewise, it can feel like the finger pressing the post button on Twitter, when you have written something critical, belongs to someone else.

That is unfortunate. But it is a price worth paying for safeguarding a more important principle. Allowing people the freedom to criticise something on social media leads to greater accountability. Establishments with shoddy service have to change their ways—or fold—when faced with a barrage of online complaints. And governments cannot expect to get away with dodgy behaviour without being called out for it. That is why authoritarian regimes (and some hotels) are so keen to control what...Continue reading