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Vol 25 No 1 Jan/Feb 2020

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Social Media and the Criminal Law

ISBN13: 9781911611004
Published: February 2019
Publisher: Clarus Press
Country of Publication: Ireland
Format: Paperback
Price: £90.00

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The emergence of social media has opened new channels of mass communication and expression. It is possible to reach an unlimited audience with the click of a mouse or the use of a smartphone. However, due to the anonymity that social media affords, it has opened new avenues for perpetrators to threaten, intimidate and incite. Social Media and the Criminal Law makes a cross-jurisdictional assessment as to whether the existing law is adequate for dealing with criminal conduct committed on social media sites in a manner that is compatible with human rights legislation and case law. After defining the social media landscape, it describes and analyses how social media expression is translated into criminal litigation. Since there is no “social media law”, the book especially assesses how in selected Common and Civil law jurisdictions laws traditionally governing particular types of expressive activity have converged in relation to criminal activity such as threats, hate speech, harassment, bullying, defamation, indecent images of children and terrorism.

This book’s main focus is social media expression that plans and incites crimes, civil unrest and violent public protest and how this expression receives constitutional or human rights protection. Do human rights instruments protect people’s messages, tweets, and Facebook posts that encourage an audience to protest? Can social media activity expose the average person to criminal liability when these protests turn violent? In an age where existing law can be seamlessly applied to new technologies and means of interaction, this book’s comparative law approach to criminal activity on social media provides a much-needed analysis.

Irish Law
Chapter 1: An Introduction into Computer Crimes
I. Introduction and Terminological Remarks
II. Computer Crimes
Chapter 2: Social Media as an Instrument to Commit Crimes
I. A Definition of Social Media
II. Social Media platforms
1. Facebook
2. Twitter
3. Instagram
4. Snapchat
5. Yiak Yak and Jodel
6. Youtube
III. Criminal activity on Social Media Platforms—An Empirical Study
Iv. Categorising Criminal Activity Involving Social Media
Chapter 3: Social Media Statutes de Lege Lata Laws Governing Particular types of Expressive Activity in Relation to Digital Communications
I. Media Law
II. Public Order Laws
III. Targeted Communications
IV. Administrative Responses
Chapter 4: Constitutional Protections and Restrictions, International Treaties and Supranational Laws
Chapter 5: Jurisdictional Challenges and Prosecutorial Discretion
Chapter 6: The Use of Social Media to Commit Crimes
I. Malicious Communication and Bullying
1. Threats
2. Hate Speech
3. Harassment
4. Bullying
II. Defamation (Libel) and Stalking
III. Indecent Images of Children and Revenge Pornography
IV. Incendiary Speech
V. Other Uses (Contempt of Court, Terrorist Material)
Chapter 7: Social Media and Civil Unrest around the world
I. Introduction
II. The influence of Social Media on Flashmobs and Demonstrations
III. Reactions
Chapter 8: Criminal Laws Governing Riots and the Incitement to Riots
I. General and Methodological Remarks
II. Why Criminalise Rioting?
III. Criminal Law Governing Riots and Incitement to Riots in The USA
IV. Criminal Law Governing Riots and Incitement to Riots in England and Wales
V. Criminal Law Governing Riots and Incitement to Riots in Germany
VI. Intermediate Conclusion
Chapter 9: Riot Participation through Social Media
I. Laws Regulating Incitement to Riot Through Social Media in the USA
II. Laws Regulating Incitement to Riot Through Social Media in England and Wales
III. Intermediate Conclusion
IV. Laws Regulating Incitement to Riot Through Social Media in Germany - The Applicability of Section 125(1) StGB to External Persons
Chapter 10: The Blurred Lines Between External and Internal Crowd Members Through the Use of Social Media
I. The Specific Dangerousness of Crowds and Section 125(1) StGB
Ii. The Method of Interpretation
Iii. Rioters Can Only Be Those Who Riot: The Application of Section 125 (1) Variant 1 And 2 StGB Only to Internal Crowd Members
Iv. Criminal Responsibility of a Person Acting in Advance of the Riot – The Spiritual Leader and Organiser
Chapter 11. Conclusion