How Does The ‘Red Rose’ App Prove That Online Anonymity Brings Out The Worst In People?


The first season of the series, “Red Rose,” represents the hazards of data theft and the havoc someone gaining access to it can wreak in the lives of people. It also shows us how society has converted itself into a group of faceless people who do nothing but take advantage of their anonymity and spread hate and negativity. The coder forum of the Red Rose app was like a hidden dark room, and what happened inside was concealed from the rest of the world. Even those who were present in that room couldn’t see each other, which is why they were able to voice their opinions in an unabashed manner, not thinking about the ramifications if they had the conversation in real life.

The woman who called herself Gardener probably made the most use of it, as she knew that what she wanted to do needed her to mask her real identity. There is a veil of anonymity that exists on social media platforms in general, which millions of people around the world use to unleash their true selves and say things that they wouldn’t dare say in real life. The dark web becomes a whole different ball game, but even if we talk about mainstream social media sites, where apparently the law enforcement authorities can exercise their jurisdiction, there exist a lot of people who blatantly oust social norms and say things for which they could potentially be charged. This is a very deep-rooted behavioral pattern that says a lot about humans in general, which always existed but became more evident after the advent of social media. We often see that when a person lives in a community where people recognize him, he feels a pressure to abide by certain principles and act in accordance with the conduct that is widely accepted as normal. However, when this same person travels to a foreign city, whether for a vacation or a longer stay, he does things that he would not have done in his home country. And we don’t mean to imply that everyone who moves to an unknown city commits illegal acts, but there is a sense of freedom that comes with not knowing anyone and being able to walk down the street in stealth.

To understand such behavioral anomalies, we have to understand the intrinsic nature of any human. A sense of belonging to a community binds people to certain principles and societal norms. However, it is difficult to bind people who do not feel like a part of any community or society, who see the world as a third person, or who have been pushed over the edge by adversity or tragedy. All the coders, especially the Gardener, never felt like part of anything. Being on the app for them was like being in an alien city, where they had the superpower to not be recognized and set the world on fire without getting blamed for it.

The Red Rose symbolizes the barbaric instincts that people have but generally hide for fear of being judged, facing legal consequences, and being banished from the community. It provided a platform for people to express their deepest and darkest desires without inhibitions. The Gardener believed that every individual had the potential to be evil and inhuman, and in case of a conflict, they would always choose what was best for them rather than being empathetic and looking out for others. When the Gardener found Wren, she realized that she had hit the jackpot and that by putting her in conflicting situations, she could make her go to terrifying lengths. The Gardener was rooting for Wren, and she didn’t disappoint. Wren ended up killing someone, and Gardner felt great satisfaction in knowing that she was correct in speculating that if given the right tools, humans could harness their full potential and demonstrate to the world why they are referred to as the worst species to inhabit the planet.

The Red Rose app was born out of obsession, and anything that was flawed in its source cannot transform into something good. Jacob Taylor might have only desired to get to know Alyssa better, but that was clearly not the right way of going about things. It might not have been possible to prove that whatever he was doing was legally wrong, but it was undeniably morally wrong on many levels. And that is how flawed our ideologies are and how frivolous our claim of being morally upright is, as the moment we know that nobody is seeing us, we give into all sorts of vices and prove that we act in a civilized manner only because of the fear of punitive action being taken, not because we actually want to.

So basically, even before the app was taken over by The Gardener, it was being used to do something that wouldn’t be appreciated in the real world. I believe that is the only parameter that could be used to define if an action is right or wrong. Jacob, like many others out there, was giving himself reasons to believe that whatever he was doing was harmless and that it didn’t cross boundaries. But would he have been able to strike up a similar conversation if Alyssa recognized the face behind the tool? The answer is no; he wouldn’t because he was clearly invading someone’s privacy.

Now if we leave the perpetrators for a moment and move towards the side of the victims and try to understand how they fell prey to the trap, then we see that there was something that each and everyone had in common. The Gardener knew that a person always had some secrets that could be held against him. More often than not, this secret is an inevitable truth of a person’s life that they are unable to accept, or maybe they know that the world would abhor it. A lot of times, it could also be something that they did or thought when nobody was watching, and they were scared that it would come out in public and become a source of embarrassment for them. The Red Rose app symbolizes how there is a lack of acceptance in human beings of their own true selves. Among all of them, Antony was probably the only one who accepted himself the way he was and had no qualms about it. He had hidden his sexuality from the world for quite some time, and he had come to a point where he didn’t care what people thought about him, and that is why the Gardener wasn’t able to use it as leverage.

The Gardener asked Noah a question before telling him where to find Wren: she asked him if the Red Rose had changed his life, to which he nodded in affirmation. Well, indeed, the Red Rose app was such that if one survived to look back and analyze what all they had done in those conflicting times, they would get to know themselves in a better manner. The Red Rose app itself was not evil, but it made sure that it brought out the demons inside each and every individual. It proved that the Gardener was, in fact, right in her assessment of human beings and what they were capable of doing. The Gardener is not done yet, and in “Red Rose” Season 2 (if there is any), we will see more truths being unearthed, which in turn would show the world how cruel and unempathetic we are capable of being.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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