In light of yesterday’s school shooting that the USA have suffered in Oregon, I thought it would be interesting to look at the role of social media in the before- and after math of the events.
On October 1st, 2015, a gunman named Chris Harper-Mercer shot nine people dead at Umpqua Community College.
The mass shooting is the latest incident of a chain of gun violence events in the US. Back in June, nine people were murdered, at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. Like after each incident, President Obama is demanding tighter gun laws. At a national level, the debate of ready availability of firearms and the role of mental health is undergoing.
However, perhaps the role of what happens online should also be up for debate as another important factor.
Subsequently, after the shooting, media outlets have drawn a link between the shooter, Harper-Mercer, and the online social media image-board 4chan. A number of outlets have drawn attention to posts on 4chan the day before the shooting, where an anonymous poster warned the public ”not to go to school in the northwest tomorrow” because ”some of you are alright”.
I attended high school in Helsinki, Finland, and from watching/reading Finnish news media, we have similarly seen this in the diverse school shootings here, where the shooters had ”warned” the public on a social media platform.
I thought it would be interesting to draw a parallel to internal communication that we discussed in class, and how/if organizations should monitor their employees’ use of social media. We can also link this to the question that is being debated by journalists and social media activists: how far should online platforms police speech and communication?
The debate of how social media should be monitored more has included social justice activists blaming social media platforms for their “hands-off approach to regulating speech”, which allows trolling and “hate speeches to thrive” and “mass killing plans to get egged on”.
What do you guys think about the idea of tighter regulations on social media posts? Do you see it as a violation of privacy or perhaps a positive step towards national security?
You can read more about it here:
Moon, Angela (2015, October). “Oregon shooting threat may have circled on social media”, Found October 2, 2015, from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/02/us-usa-shooting-oregon-threats-idUSKCN0RV5W720151002