Cyber Mobs, Disinformation, and Death Videos: The Internet as It Is (And as It Should Be)   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "Nick Drnaso's graphic novel 'Sabrina' provides a powerful snapshot of online norms. The picture is not pretty: A young woman goes missing. Her grief-stricken boyfriend cannot bear to stay in their home and escapes to a friend's house. Her sister struggles with the pain of her loss. We learn that the woman's neighbor, a misogynist loner, killed her and recorded the murder. Online, people clamor for the video. The execution video leaks and goes viral. The media hounds the woman's sister and her boyfriend. A conspiracy theorist with a popular radio show argues that the murder is a deep-state hoax. He gins up a cyber mob to 'investigate' what is really going on. A cyber mob descends. The woman's family, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend's friend are smeared as crisis actors. They are barraged with death threats, and their personal information is posted far and wide. [...] The novel raises important questions about the interaction of human behavior, culture, and law in the digital age. What compels people to like, click, and share grotesque execution videos, conspiracy theories, and destructive falsehoods? [...] Combatting cyber-mob attacks must be a priority. Law should raise the cost of cyber-mob attacks. It is time for tech companies to tackle some of the negative externalities of their business model. Platforms should not enjoy immunity from liability for user-generated content unless they have earned that immunity with reasonable content-moderation practices. Education should play a role as well. As digital citizens, we need to do better."

Open Access. Authors have granted unrestricted access.
Retrieved From:
University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository: https://repository.law.umich.edu/
Media Type:
Michigan Law Review (2020), v.118 issue 6, p.1073-1094
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