By Izhaan Ahmed
A powerful tool, the will of the mob is a force to be reckoned with. Mob mentality is an umbrella term for forces that occur in social groups, in which people start acting differently than if they were alone. The consequences of mob mentality and other aspects of cancel culture, intentional or not, have changed society since it started to gain ground in its current form. Although celebrity culture or politics comes to mind first when mob mentality is brought up, it also affects neighbors, teachers and peers. This practice is prevalent within society on many scales, whether it be in the form of rescinded college acceptance or, arguably, the impeachment of a U.S. president.
“Mob mentality provoked by celebrities can drive people to absolute extremes very easily,” said junior Nikson Alex.
Celebrity culture is irrefutably influenced by mob mentality in some regard; one such case is the fandom of a band known as BTS. Members of the community are frequently noted for their strong affinity for the band, hosting Twitter accounts known as “fancams,” which capture members in live concerts up close, for example. Some may perceive this affection as overbearing — a recurring symptom of mob mentality — as it invades the privacy of the artist, often leaving them feeling harassed and subject to scrutiny. This abusive dynamic inherent in many cases of mob mentality strengthens the narrative that its effects are negatively impacting society greatly.
“If someone said something on social media when they were eight, then it shouldn’t really matter. If they were threatening to harm others and someone finds out about it, that should lead to expulsion to keep people safe; in that case only, cancel culture would be pretty useful,” said sophomore Gabriel Paniagua.
Another case of mob mentality and its effects are evident in the situation surrounding the Genshin Impact community earlier this year. It started with a character that was deemed politically incorrect due to its appearance as a caricature of a member of an indigenous community. This sparked a protest which subsequently tanked the ratings of the game on several platforms, encumbering the app with negative reviews. Although the event did not result in the tweaking or removal of the controversial character, the prevalence of this phenomenon goes to show that mob mentality can very easily become widespread as the public readily displays their frustrations.
Designed primarily for family members to share location with one another, the social networking app Life 360 has also fallen victim to the criticism of the mob. Originating as a TikTok trend in March of 2020, the app had a nasty run in with its teenage population, due to numerous amounts of negative reviews teens were leaving the app in order to get it booted from the app store.
Source by Kristen Schneider
Teenage kids express distaste for the app's tracking qualities, calling it "controlling."
Mob mentality has become so influential that it is practically embedded in society, particularly evident in the relationship between employee and company. Regardless of the actual issue, companies, if pestered by reports of any addressed allegations of any kind against some associated person or entity, will often cut ties with the controversial individual, rather than become defensive, as it has been found to be the most affordable action. Many ethical questions arise regarding this practice, as it results in a system that leaves people jobless without a trial confirming such allegations.
Despite its consuming nature, mob mentality can be used to support and cultivate discussion about how society should handle a proposed victim and criminal. Furthermore, the ability for people to scrutinize others for their participation in vile acts helps to deter such acts from being committed. Whether mob mentality is ultimately beneficial or malevolent to society remains a controversial issue in society today.