Examining abuse in online media

Rahul Sambaraju*, Chris McVittie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

While online spaces and media offer unique possibilities for participating in critical and mundane communication, these also introduce several problems in the form of abuse such as trolling, flaming, or other anti-social behavior. Social and personality psychologists offer a range of explanations for abusive behavior online. Here we distinguish between explanations that treat online abuse as readily known and consequently proceed with examining possible causes of such abuse, and those that treat abuse as a situated act of communication worth examining in its own right. The latter examines how abuse is accomplished, treated, and negotiated in specific online settings. A central advantage of doing so is that the specifics and details of instances of abuse become amenable to examination and consequently allow for identification of in situ means by which abuse maybe challenged. In taking this approach, online abuse is examined for how it is produced and situated in specific social and interactional settings.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12521
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Issue number3
Early online date13 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • trolling
  • online abuse
  • discourse analysis
  • social media
  • online interaction
  • conversation analysis


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