Emerging forms of surveillance and policing make use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
This paper considers top-down conventional policing by investigative agencies, as well as ground-up policing by crowd-sourced users. These practices have separate origins and organisational cultures, yet they now converge on platforms that increasingly monopolise social life.
While bottom-up policing contains empowering potential, notably by shedding light on instances of police misconduct and political corruption, so to can it be directed towards categories of individuals that are suspected of criminal activity and breaching social norms. Furthermore, the emergence of top-down scrutiny of social media platforms by police suggest that institutions and governments are as capable as ever of asserting control over social life.
Daniel Trottier is a postdoctoral fellow at the Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster, where he participates in two European Union projects on security and social media.
He previously held postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Informatics and Media at Uppsala University and the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta, and obtained his PhD in Sociology at Queen’s University, Canada. He is the author of the book ‘Social Media as Surveillance,’ published by Ashgate, 'Identity Problems in the Facebook Era,' published by Routledge and the co-editor of 'Social Media, Politics and the State,' also published by Routledge."
© 2012 Journal of Law, Information & Science and Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania.