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.