Public accusation on the internet

Sarah Lageson, Kateryna Kaplun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Purpose – In a digital environment, a simple accusation has the potential to permanently attach to a person’s identity. Our purpose here is to identify several types of accusations that persist in the internet environment: person to person accusations, media documented accusations, and accusations by the state. Approach – Using a typology of cases and legal analyses, the authors trace how accusations proliferate and persist across the internet and offer a set of social and legal explanations for the salience of public accusation online. Findings – The authors ultimately find that in contemporary society, the act of accusing increasingly replaces the desire or need for a fair and just outcome. The authors close by discussing implications for the accused and potential avenues for remedy. Originality – Our contribution bridges sociological and legal perspectives on the intersection of free speech, defamation, and digital media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociology of Crime Law and Deviance
PublisherEmerald Group Holdings Ltd.
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameSociology of Crime Law and Deviance
ISSN (Print)1521-6136

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


  • Accusation
  • Defamation
  • Due process
  • Internet
  • Privacy
  • Punishment


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