We live for clicks, likes, followers and the validation they bring. Even if they are a two dimensional, hollow click validation of strangers rather than the substantive approval of our family or community online or off.
Under pressure from social media companies and friends, people open accounts only to find their social circle and popularity does not necessarily soar as it has for others. Out of frustration, a user may something inappropriate, only to find it gets more attention than anything else they had posted before. Despite having done something bad, the attention feels good. The user may start looking for the best things to be horrible about in order to gain the most attention possible.
Even if they might not start out as inherently bad people, that is who soon becomes their community. Click me, you like me. People go where they are liked, even if that place is bad.
We, the internet community, don't help. We share the worst things we see and follow accounts and causes we despise (who does that?). Maybe for the right reasons, but a share is a share and a follower is a follower. Some people would rather be hated and followed than not followed at all. We have seen numerous cases of haters, when unmasked, demand they have a right to say what they want and then beg not to be outed (look up examples @sweepyface and Violentacrez ) and promise never to do it again. They claim they didn't mean the horrible things they said. Andrew Anglin, who runs the Daily Stormer website and is now being sued for his online viciousness, recently claimed his website was an experiment and not the rampant anti-Semitism it appeared to be - a hobby Nazi.
Of course there are genuine haters, racists and bigots who would love nothing more than to lead a lynch mob, beat immigrants with impunity or burn minority-owned businesses. We certainly have enough of those people. We don't need to foster weekend warriors for hate.
In a world measured in likes and views, people will resort to any online behavior, as long as it gets reposted, retweeted or shared. Sensationalism, distortion, artifice becomes king. Attention getting behavior is nothing new, just ask any third grade teacher. It's all about insecurity.
We need to call out bad behavior and hate online from those we know. On some issues it is NOT OK to agree to disagree. We need to acknowledge and value of the people around us, so people feel real validation and are not forced into distructive behavior to find acceptance online.