Patton, D. U., Brunton, D.-W., Dixon, A., Miller, R. J., Leonard, P., & Hackman, R. (2017). Stop and frisk online: Theorizing everyday racism in digital policing in the use of social media for identification of criminal conduct and associations. Social Media + Society, 3(3).
Open access: Yes
Notes: Police and other law enforcement groups increasingly use social media to surveil and prosecute people. In this article, Patton and colleagues put forward a theory of everyday racism in digital policing, drawing from the context of the NYPD in the United States. In their theoretical models, they outline how implicit biases are permeating policing approaches to social media—spaces that have less accountability. In this case, they call for creating limitations on how policing is done on social media, arguing that “being on the digital street has become no different to people of color to being in the world—the same cognitive and social controls apply” (p. 8).
Abstract: Police are increasingly monitoring social media to build evidence for criminal indictments. In 2014, 103 alleged gang members residing in public housing in Harlem, New York, were arrested in what has been called “the largest gang bust in history.” The arrests came after the New York Police Department (NYPD) spent 4 years monitoring the social media communication of these suspected gang members. In this article, we explore the implications of using social media for the identification of criminal activity. We describe everyday racism in digital policing as a burgeoning conceptual framework for understanding racialized social media surveillance by law enforcement. We discuss implications for law enforcement agencies utilizing social media data for intelligence and evidence in criminal cases.