Vilification, vigilantism and violence

Publisher:
Routledge
Publication Type:
Chapter
Citation:
Law, Lawyers and Justice Through Australian Lenses, 2020, pp. 82-105
Issue Date:
2020-04-20
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The focus of this chapter is on the growth of ‘anti-crime’ Facebook groups in Australia. Specifically, we focus on the ways in which community justice and vigilantism are exercised through social media in the wider context of the racialized criminalization of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and, increasingly, other minority groups. We build on earlier work, drawing on a number of anti-crime Facebook pages to examine the ways social media is used to produce and reproduce a racialized narrative of crime. Our analysis finds that these Facebook groups have the effect of legitimating racial vilification, vigilantism and violence against racialized ‘others’ and that the current regulation of online racism and racial vilification appears to be profoundly inadequate for addressing these concerns. While there are examples of direct links between Facebook groups and incidence of violence, at a broader level, it is the constant reinforcement of an environment of racist violence that is most troubling.
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