1st Edition

Crime, Justice and Social Media

By Michael Salter Copyright 2017
    204 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    204 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How is social media changing contemporary understandings of crime and injustice, and what contribution can it make to justice-seeking? Abuse on social media often involves betrayals of trust and invasions of privacy that range from the public circulation of intimate photographs to mass campaigns of public abuse and harassment using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, 8chan and Reddit – forms of abuse that disproportionately target women and children.

    Crime, Justice and Social Media argues that online abuse is not discontinuous with established patterns of inequality but rather intersects with and amplifies them. Embedded within social media platforms are inducements to abuse and harass other users who are rarely provided with the tools to protect themselves or interrupt the abuse of others. There is a relationship between the values that shape the technological design and administration of social media, and those that inform the use of abuse and harassment to exclude and marginalise diverse participants in public life.

    Drawing on original qualitative research, this book is essential reading for students and scholars in the fields of cyber-crime, media and crime, cultural criminology, and gender and crime.


    1. Towards a critical theory of online abuse

    2. Gamergate and the subpolitics of abuse in online publics

    3. Abusive idols: Commodification and exploitation on social media

    4. Nudes, attention whores and gym selfies: Sexuality and nudity in the online visual economy

    5. Dick pics and sexting: Weaponising gendered power on social media

    6. From #OpGabon to #OpDeathEaters: Transnational justice flows on social media



    Michael Salter is Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at Western Sydney University, Australia.

    "Part of an emergent wave of urgently needed new media research, Crime, Justice and Social Media promises to serve as a foundational primer on the relationship between online media environments and technosocial criminality.  In his unwavering analysis of how gender inequalities and asymmetries structure online harms and transgressions, Michael Salter illuminates the powerful contradictions, tensions, and amplifications of harm in social media, while remaining faithful to the complex emancipatory potential of new modes of feminist online contestation, resistance, and justice-seeking pursuits."

    Michelle Brown, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Tennessee, USA, and co-editor of Crime, Media, Culture

    "This book uses case studies of online abuse and focus group data taken from research with young people in Australia to develop a set of cogent arguments that propose such abuse intersects with established patterns of inequality, but also to show how social media has emancipatory potential, and is challenging conventional ways of understanding crime and injustice. Advocating for a critical theory of online abuse using contemporary empirical examples, the book offers particularly useful insights for scholars and students interested in the role of social media in the commission of crimes as well as in justice-seeking initiatives."

    Greg Martin, Associate Professor of Socio-Legal Studies, University of Sydney, Australia

    "Online abuse involves new media affordances alongside systemic patterns of discrimination. By examining coordinated harassment campaigns in relation to a broader media culture, Dr. Salter provides a nuanced and convincing account of weaponised visibility. This timely book is recommended for students, researchers and practitioners who are coming to terms with these issues."

    Daniel Trottier, Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

    "This lively, thought provoking book greatly enlarges our understanding of online abuse across various social media platforms. Its lucid combination of critical theory, analytical insight, and interdisciplinary sensibility make it indispensable reading for anyone seeking to know more about this vital aspect of contemporary culture. In particular, its attention to the gendered dynamics and politics of abuse make it a timely, bold and innovative statement of criminology at its very best."

    Eamonn Carrabine, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex, UK, and co-editor of Crime, Media, Culture

    "Mapping out the complex relationships between technological design, crime and gender representsone of the many challenges facing criminologists concerned with social media. An engaging and timely book, Michael Salter’s outstanding Crime, Justice and Social Media delves into these and other issues with nuance and finesse. Deftly synthesizing media theory, gender and critical theory, Salter’s book offers a compelling and much-needed account of the factors that drive social media facilitated abuse and harassment…. Incisive in its analysis and impressive in its interdisiciplinarity, Crime, Justice and Social Media provides a sophisticated account of online abuse, humiliation and justice-seeking initiatives and is an excellent addition to Routledge’s New Directions in Critical Criminology series. It is a must-read for criminologists concerned with new media, online abuse and technologically facilitated sexual violence, and an important contribution to the still-nascent criminological literature on social media."

    Mark Wood, University of Melbourne, Crime Media Culture