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Online shaming

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In 2015, Dr. Walter J. Palmer, an American dentist, and recreational big-game hunter received a flood of negative messages and online reviews after killing Cecil the lion.
In 2015, Dr. Walter J. Palmer, an American dentist, and recreational big-game hunter received a flood of negative messages and online reviews after killing Cecil the lion.

Online shaming is a form of public shaming in which targets are publicly humiliated on the internet, via social media platforms (e.g. Twitter or Facebook), or more localized media (e.g. email groups). Online shaming frequently involves exposing private information on the Internet. The ethics of public humiliation has been a source of debate over Internet privacy and media ethics. Online shaming takes many forms including call-outs, cancellation, doxing, negative reviews, and revenge porn.


Journalist and documentary filmmaker Jon Ronson has compared modern online shaming to medieval pillories.
Journalist and documentary filmmaker Jon Ronson has compared modern online shaming to medieval pillories.

Online shaming is a form of public shaming in which internet users are harassed, mocked, or bullied by other internet users online. This shaming may involve commenting directly to or about the shamed, the sharing of private messages, posting private photos, or otherwise commenting directly to or about the shamed online. Those being shamed are perceived to have committed a social transgression, and other internet users then use public exposure to shame the offender. People have been shamed online for a variety of reasons, usually consisting of some form of social transgression such as posting offensive comments, posting offensive images or memes, online gossip, or lying.

Those who are shamed online have not necessarily committed any social transgression. Online shaming may be used to get revenge (for example in the form of revenge pornography), stalk, blackmail, or threaten other internet users.[1]

Privacy violation is a major issue in online shaming. Those being shamed may be denied the right to privacy and be subject to defamation. David Furlow, chairman of the Media, Privacy and Defamation Committee of the American Bar Association, has identified the potential privacy concerns raised by websites facilitating the distribution of information that is not part of the public record (documents filed with a government agency) and has said that such websites "just [give] a forum to people whose statements may not reflect truth."[1][2]



Calling someone out online, sometimes referred to as call-out culture or outrage culture, is a form of public humiliation or shaming that aims to hold individuals and groups accountable for actions perceived to be offensive by other individuals or groups, who then call attention to this behavior, usually on social media.[citation needed]

Michael Bérubé, a professor of literature at Pennsylvania State University, states, "in social media, what is known as 'callout culture' and 'ally theater' (in which people demonstrate their bona fides as allies of a vulnerable population) often produces a swell of online outrage that demands that a post or a tweet be taken down or deleted".[3]


The act of canceling, also referred to as cancel culture (a variant on the term "callout culture") describes a form of boycott in which an individual (usually a celebrity) who has shared a questionable or controversial opinion, or has had behavior in their past that is perceived to be offensive recorded on social media, is "canceled"; they are ostracized and shunned by former friends, followers and supporters alike, leading to declines in any careers and fanbase the individual may have at any given time.[4][5]


Doxing involves researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information about an individual, often with the intention of harming that person.[6][7][8][9]

Negative reviews

User generated review sites such as Yelp, Google Books and Trip Advisor have been used to publicly shame or punish businesses. Internet users are urged to give negative reviews in order to punish corporate interests or businesses they dislike.[10][11][12]

Revenge porn

Non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit material in order to humiliate a person, frequently distributed by computer hackers or ex-partners. Images and video of sexual acts are often combined with doxing of a person's private details, such as their home addresses and workplaces.[13][14] In many jurisdictions, revenge porn is a criminal offense.

See also


  1. ^ a b Laidlaw, Emily (February 1, 2017). "Online Shaming and the Right to Privacy". Laws. 6: 3. doi:10.3390/laws6010003. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  2. ^ Tracy Swartz, RedEye (May 31, 2007). "The wide world of cyber snitching". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  3. ^ Bérubé, Michael (January 2018). "The Way We Review Now". PMLA. 133 (1): 132–138. doi:10.1632/pmla.2018.133.1.132.
  4. ^ Sills, Sophie; Pickens, Chelsea; Beach, Karishma; Jones, Lloyd; Calder-Dawe, Octavia; Benton-Greig, Paulette; Gavey, Nicola (March 23, 2016). "Rape culture and social media: young critics and a feminist counterpublic". Feminist Media Studies. 16 (6): 935–951. doi:10.1080/14680777.2015.1137962.
  5. ^ Munro, Ealasaid (August 23, 2013). "Feminism: A Fourth Wave?". Political Insight. 4 (2): 22–25. doi:10.1111/2041-9066.12021.
  6. ^ S-W, C. "What doxxing is, and why it matters". The Economist, UK.
  7. ^ Ryan Goodrich (April 2, 2013). "What is Doxing?". Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  8. ^ James Wray and Ulf Stabe (December 19, 2011). "The FBI's warning about doxing was too little too late". Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  9. ^ Zurcher, Anthony. "Duke freshman reveals porn identity". BBC, United Kingdom. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  10. ^ George, Jordana; Dorothy, Leidner (March 1, 2019). "From Clicktivism to Hacktivism: Understanding Digital Activism". Information & Organization: 20–24. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.16347.82726. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  11. ^ Chafkin, Max (February 1, 2010). "You've Been Yelped". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "'Am I being catfished?' An author confronts her number one online critic". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Emily Bazelon,Why Do We Tolerate Revenge Porn?", Slate (September 25, 2013).
  14. ^ Eric Larson, "It's Still Easy to Get Away With Revenge Porn", Mashable, October 21, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 1 July 2020, at 10:28
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