TORONTO – While online vigilante justice wasn’t necessarily on the rise in 2013 (it seemed to peak in 2012), experts say there certainly was more awareness of it this year.
With stories that elicited outrage (think Rehtaeh Parsons’ death following an alleged rape, the Boston Marathon bombings and news of a sex ring in New Zealand where teenage boys lured girls into having sex, then bragged about it online), came stories of digital vigilantes looking for justice.
But it didn’t always end well for these online crusaders. “These cases illustrated that online vigilantism is generally not a good idea,” said Matthew Johnson, Director of Education at MediaSmarts.
Unlike in law enforcement and journalism, Johnson said there are fewer checks on social media.
“It’s not to say that police and journalists don’t make mistakes, but there are checks on them, and these don’t exist when a particular theory takes the imagination of an online community.” read more...