Collingwood and Broadbent, ‘Offending and being offended online: Vile messages, jokes and the law’

The volume of Internet traffic on social media grows exponentially. Exploring this phenomenon from a behavioural perspective, it is evident that the law can only play a marginal role in its regulation. The gap between no regulation and the reach of the criminal law is significant, made higher following the publication of guidance from the Director of Public Prosecutions on prosecuting social media cases. Additionally, the civil law is incapable of filling this gap in part due to the need for individual action and the impetus required to pursue it. Whilst recognising that the law will inevitably continue to play a marginal role in the regulation of social media, it is argued that the creation of a new tort enforced by a suitable body might go at least some way to deal with inappropriate postings falling short of the criminal law standard but justifying some legal intervention.

Lisa Collingwood and Graeme Broadbent, Offending and being offended online: Vile messages, jokes and the law. Computer Law and Security Review, Volume 31, Issue 6, December 2015, Pages 763–772.

First posted 2015-11-13 12:32:42

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