In "Hated in the Nation," the final episode of the third season of "Black Mirror" lies an important, if unnecessary, blatant and unsubtle message. The final episode of the show details the investigation of a detective in relation to the mysterious and odd death of a journalist, whose husband claims that she slit her own throat with a broken piece of glass. But before delving into the details, a little bit of background: In this futuristic world, bees have become extinct and to compensate for this the government has allowed the creation of artificially intelligent bees, robot bees, which function essentially the same way in terms of pollination. Now back to the story, inside the woman’s head, following an autopsy, one of these bees is found. Essentially the bee had lodged itself into the pain center of the woman’s brain and caused such excruciating pain that she killed herself.
Barely a day later another person dies the same way; a bee burrows itself inside a man's head. Although he is sedated before he can cause himself harm, when the doctors perform a CT scan to figure out what’s wrong with him, the machine, acting as a giant magnet, rips the bee out of his head, killing him. The common thread? They both did something offensive; the journalist wrote an offensive article on a disabled rights activist and the man, a famous singer, insulted a young fan of his, inciting a strong response from the online mob. It is quickly discovered that the bees have essentially been hacked, and they are being directed through a hashtag. It is a game of consequences which states that if you post #DeathTo followed by the name of the person and their photo, by the end of the day the individual mentioned the most will be killed.
It is also discovered that the man behind all of this was involved initially in the creation of these bees. His coworker and roommate had been the subject of the online mob's rage after posting a seemingly offensive photo online, due to this she had attempted to commit suicide, and he was the one that found her and saved her life. As it turns out, in the end, the real targets were never the people that had done said perceivably offensive things online; but rather all those that used the hashtag on another person, 37,000 people, all of whom used the hashtag were eventually themselves attacked by the bees and killed. The tortured metaphor is not a subtle one, the one story, out of thousands, that it brought to mind was that of Justine Sacco, the woman that tweeted the juvenile and stupid joke: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDs. Just kidding. I’m white!” Little was she aware of what followed as she was on her flight:
“Sacco’s Twitter feed had become a horror show. 'In light of @Justine-Sacco disgusting racist tweet, I’m donating to @care today' and 'How did @JustineSacco get a PR job?! Her level of racist ignorance belongs on Fox News. #AIDS can affect anyone!' and 'I’m an IAC employee and I don’t want @JustineSacco doing any communications on our behalf ever again. Ever.' And then one from her employer, IAC, the corporate owner of The Daily Beast, OKCupid and Vimeo: 'This is an outrageous, offensive comment. Employee in question currently unreachable on an intl flight.' The anger soon turned to excitement: 'All I want for Christmas is to see @JustineSacco’s face when her plane lands and she checks her inbox/voicemail' and 'Oh man, @JustineSacco is going to have the most painful phone-turning-on moment ever when her plane lands' and 'We are about to watch this @JustineSacco bitch get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she’s getting fired.'"
"Black Mirror" took this growing trend of Internet social warriorism to its extreme, but the point still remains. Justine was just one of the hundreds or thousands of others who made the fatal mistake of posting something stupid, ignorant, or offensive in the intent of humor, and having that one mistake essentially end their life. It accentuates this mob mentality that often comes about on the Internet, a trend that very much needs to change.