If Twitter was a drug they'd have banned it: RICHARD LITTLEJOHN says social media does more damage than many illegal substances put together
Anti-tobacco and alcohol campaigners are always telling us that if we had known how harmful these drugs were they would never have been allowed on the market.
So what if someone invented a powerful new narcotic that could destroy lives, cause mental breakdown and incite terrorism, rape and murder?
And what if the manufacturers gave it away free to get people hooked, even targeting vulnerable schoolchildren
Well, such a drug already exists. It is so addictive that it spreads like wildfire around the world, enslaving hundreds of millions of people, from the poorest to the highest in the land.
It can reduce users to gibbering wrecks, and is responsible for broken marriages, ruined careers and a spate of suicides. Side-effects include sleep deprivation, delusions of grandeur and paranoia.
This drug -- which pathologists call 'social media' -- has a variety of street names, the best known of which are Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Anyone can get their hands on it, 24 hours a day over the internet.
It's more addictive than crack cocaine and does more damage than heroin, marijuana and Spice put together.
You can always tell a Spice addict from a Twitter user. Spice addicts go into a catatonic, zombie-like trance before falling down in the street. But they rarely hurt anyone other than themselves.
The Twitterati wander the streets with their heads down, staring at their mobile phones, before spewing hatred or self-serving drivel on the internet.
You can spot them a mile off, glancing anxiously at their handsets and mobile devices for their next fix. Occasionally, they manage to wean themselves off the drug when they realise the damage they are doing to their own peace of mind and the wellbeing of others.
But the rate of recidivism is high and they soon return to their old habit, deprived of their regular injection of self-righteousness and virtue signalling. Stephen Fry is a repeat offender.
Like other so-called 'legal highs' this is all very well when it is restricted to personal use. But when the drug 'goes viral' it can be devastating.
[align=center]Only last week a pop star addicted to Twitter caused mass panic on the streets of Central London when he told his eight million followers that he was trapped in a department store under siege from a terrorist attack.
The reported 'attack' turned out to be nothing of the sort, but could have proved fatal as thousands of his 'followers' ran for their lives.
It was a false alarm, but demonstrates how people who become hopelessly dependent on Twitter and other forms of 'social media' are prepared to believe anything. It makes users highly susceptible to adopting and expressing extremist views, more often than not hidden behind a cloak of anonymity.
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