Whether someone is live-streaming their killing spree or murdering in the name of an online mythical creature, it's clear that social media is now a very present factor when it comes to the way people kill. Death by social media was the topic of a recent episode of Mysteries & Scandals, airing Fridays at 9/8c on Oxygen.
Lori Andrews, a Social Media Expert who appeared on the episode "Death By Social Media," recently talked more with Oxygen about the disturbing new trend of "performance crimes."
Andrews is a professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law where she teaches a law school classes on social media. She's also the author of the book I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy.
Andrews cites the fact that everyone wants to be famous as the reason people are posting their crimes to social media. "It’s as if everyone wants to be the star of their own movie and many people post everything they do, including committing crimes," she says. Andrews mentions a recent case with a shoot-out with the police as an example of the absurdity of social media and crimes. "Another guy who was on the lam from the law took a hostage and posted a photo of him and her on his Facebook page with the sentence, 'Cute hostage, huh?' While in a shoot-out with the police, the kidnapper friended people and posted status updates."
Specifically, Andrews mentions celebrity culture as the reason for people wanting to post their crimes on social media. "We live in a celebrity culture," Andrews says. "People used to admire leaders who took action to better the public good. Also, some celebrities became even more famous when they ran afoul of the law, so that’s something to copy as well."
While most people may think performance crimes are reserved for the younger, more socially-saavy generation, Andrews points out that it's actually just as much of an issue for adults as well. "It is a particular issue with young people, but psychologists have also found that what they call the 'online disinhibition effect' in adults as well. What people do online is viewed as if it were occurring in a video game, not in real life. This leads to vicious cyberbullying and even the posting of violent encounters including murders and rapes. And it can lead to crimes in real life where the criminals say they felt like it was 'just a game.'"
There's no denying that social media crimes are part of the social media culture in which we live in 2018.
For more Mysteries & Scandals, tune in to Oxygen Fridays at 9/8c.