Write a five (5) page minimum, DOUBLE SPACED, 12-FONT TIMES ROMAN paper with references and sources cited. You may pick any topic in that covers an aspect of crime and the media. This project will be a minimum of five (5) pages for the entire paper, not five (5) pages for each step.
Your cover sheet, abstract and your source citing/references are NOT included in the five page minimum.
Your grade will depend upon the presentation of your analysis and research, the quality of the work presented – whether you give a detailed presentation or a vague overview, whether you addressed all parts of the question asked, and how you support your argument/discussion – as well as the citing of a variety of sources/use of references and whether you met the mandatory minimum page requirement.
Please make sure to use AT LEAST 8 sources for your research. The paper should be written using APA 7 Format
With the traditional mainstream media, crime was committed away from the public eye. The then communication modes would choose what to broadcast and determine the ethical content appropriate for the general audience. The onset of social media, with its numerous innovations witnessed daily, has reversed the role and any kind of information can be shared through the social channels without being censored. As a result, there is an emergence of new crimes perpetrated online to unsuspecting people. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of social media on the rise of crime rate. Social media has revolutionized hate crimes and social misfits are advancing their agenda as the avenue lacks robust checks and balances. Scams such as cat-fishing, data mining quizzes, profile hijacking, and fake lottery among others are also on the rise. Scammers are always a step ahead of the general social media users and use innovative ways to swindle unsuspecting individuals online. In addition, performance crime is increasing daily, which include knockout games and ghost riding, and terrorists are radicalizing, recruiting, and training youths to undertake successful terrorist attacks, through fake social media accounts. Copycat crimes, which include live raping and other sexual offences are also increasing. The study has found the social media has significantly led to the rise of crime rate and negatively affected the criminal justice systems due to its widen accessibility and the type of information shared on different platforms.
The Impact of the Social Media on the Rise of Crime Rate
The increased use of social media has revolutionized communication and how shared information is consumed. Social media platforms allow the users to share content without depending on the old mainstream media, thus reaching a large audience, without unnecessary procrastinations that may be caused by screening of information in mainstream media. According to Asongu, Nwachukwu, Orim, and Pyke (2019) data collected from social media sites can be used to demonstrate the flow of information, sentiments, and opinions by observing what users frequently share. Millions of posts can be used to detect activism in social media, analyze prevalence of a disease, such as the current Covid-19 virus, detect road traffic, and users’ behaviors, among others (Salter, 2016). Despite the information in the channels being fairly good, a user can post anything without verification of its validity and source. Notably, criminals are using social media platforms to further their acts since they lacks robust content; therefore, the sites can be used to increase the rate of crimes by sharing misleading content, which eases perpetration of hate crimes, conning, and other criminal activities in the society.
Social Media Crimes
Müller and Schwarz (2019) observe that recently, social media has attracted heightened scrutiny as it has been established that the platforms can be used to fan flames of hate. For example after the 2016 US presidential elections, social media was listed as one of the avenues where fake news and illegal data mining took place. During the same period some users of social media platforms shared opinions against the emigrants. According to Müller and Schwarz (2019), social media channels can significantly reinforce anti-refugees sentiments, encouraging potential perpetrators to undertake violent acts against the refugees. With a higher exposure to social sites and the increased technology innovations, it is expected that such crimes will increase.
The social media scammers are increasing exponentially due to their innovative nature aimed at conning unsuspecting internet users. The increased popularity of the social media sites has witnessed an upswing in social media conning incidents. As earlier observed, the sites allow the users to generate and share information, sentiments, and opinions whose origin is not checked, leading to an increase of social media scams. Shah (2020) highlights examples of increasing social media scams, such as cat-fishing, data mining quizzes, and fake lottery schemes, among others. The illegal activities have risen as people explore the internet and tend to ‘expose’ themselves, leaving them vulnerable to online scams.
Theft or swindling of people who are supposedly on relationship is common among social media users. Cat-fishing entails creating fake online profiles in social media platforms, such as Facebook, to take advantage of unsuspecting site users (Shah, 2020). The fake individuals seduce users to enter a fictitious virtual relationships aimed at swindling money or other valuable things from the victim. Currently, the scammers are using Facebook to lure unsuspecting users to join dating apps and through emotional manipulation, steal from them. Indeed, it is a scam that leaves the victim hurt, emotionally and economically.
Personal information that is found online can also be used to commit crimes. Specifically, scammers use fake profiles, profile hijacking, mainly in Facebook, to hijack another profile and illegally use his or her data to steal money online. Kunwar and Sharma (2016) demonstrate that criminals use details and attributes of real people, such as photos, occupation, and home town, to create impersonated profiles to be used to swindle people. In some cases the scammers ask for money form the victims network pretending to be in distress and promising to pay immediately things gets back to normal. When a profile is hijacked, it is not easy to unmask the con until it is late.
People are attracted and amused by lotteries. Hence, fake lottery schemes posted through fake profiles that belong to prominent individuals, such as Mark Zukerberg, are aimed at mining victim’s data. The criminals send messages informing the victim to collect money won in fake lottery. For example Riefa (2020) highlighted a case where an unsuspecting user was deceived to have won $750 000; however, to collect the prize the victim was supposed to remit $200 processing fee in form of iTunes gift cards. The victim sent the money only for the fake lottery to disappear with his money. Notably, the scammers appeal to needs to find information and to stela from victims.
Quizzes that fascinate users and require data input of personal information are highly utilized by scammers. According to Riefa (2020), the quizzes are designed to gather personal data from unsuspecting users. The cybercriminals may include some links in the quizzes to steal or copy personal information and use it to con the victim’s friends and family. In some extreme cases employees using office computer to access social media sites may put the business at risk of hacking and losing money. As social media bring people together, the scammers are on the rise and ready to employ any means to steal from unsuspecting users.
There has been an upsurge of performance crime that can be traced to celebrity culture, which became rampant in the 20th century. Surette and Chadee (2020) posits that celebrities have become a focus for public interest, and individuals are yearning to become famous or popular. Subsequently, individuals are using social media to post videos of pre-crime confessions and during the real crime, and in some cases post-crime clips holding the evidence or bragging about their escapades. Performance crime in social media also includes the knockout games and ghost riding (Surette and Chadee, 2020). In addition, terrorists are increasingly using performance crime to recruit and lure new members through online videos in social media platforms and terrorists’ websites. The self-incriminating performances have been considerably enhanced by social media sites, such as Facebook, which allow the user to be live without any censoring. As such, performance crimes have led to induction and acceptance of extreme behaviors as social media is unable to control such information.
Before integration of social media, several crimes were committed without the public knowledge, unless the mainstream media covered such events. The traditional media due to checks and balances would choose what to air and what to consider irrelevant. With the onset of social media the new genre of performance crime found a channel to reach a bigger audience. Reading newspapers and watching news have been replaced tweeting and posting viral content (Surette, 2015). Production of crime based videos is on the increase and is exponentially increasing in social media feeds.
Traditional media was anchored under the freedom of expression and acted as public watchdogs. Coenen (2017) elucidates that there is a thin line between criminal law and freedom of expression; however, social media is difficult to control as it does not have boundaries. Before the onset of social media, the traditional media was centrally checked and confined to certain limits. Without the boundaries social media users can post anything including crime and criminal activities, and eventually encourage others to emulate, thus increasing crime rate mainly among the youths.
People tend to emulate what they see, irrespective of the actions’ values, effects, and associated ethics. Surette and Chadee (2020) implies that copycat crime encompasses crimes that can be traced back to exposure directly or indirectly, mainly through the social media coverage of the crime. Social media has controlled majority of the people’s attention and they primarily use it to follow news and updates. Copycat crimes have increased and evolved into transmissions that are media sourced (Surette and Chadee, 2020). Specifically, crimes being shared online get widespread media coverage, contributing to increased copycat ‘killers.’ If social media will not be involved and other stakeholders, such as the citizens, law enforcers, scholars and credible traditional media, these crimes will continue to rise.
The increased prevalence of social media use and the evolving copycat crime threats have led to sharing of other inappropriate behaviors, such as rape and sexual assaults. According to Elnoshokaty, Deng and Kwak (2016), Facebook was not taking the events seriously and would not shut their pages, thus promoting the criminal behaviors and activities. However Facebook was pressured to shut down pages and remove videos posted online encouraging performance crime. Indeed, without the intervention of social media companies, crimes online and off-line will continue to increase as there is minimal to non-censorship of content and consumption.
The media has evolved and information sharing and consumption has also significantly changed. In criminal justice, information can be said to be textual, impersonal, paper based and linear (Coenen, 2017). The content flows in a unidirectional way among the criminal justice agencies. In contrast, information shared in social media is multi-medium, holistic, digital, image dominated, and emotional. Therefore, the easy accessibility of social media is altering the nature of crime, where the owners of the multidirectional product are not apparent. The impacts of social media in rise of crime rate are truly felt by populations and considerably affect criminal justice systems.
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