Crowdsourcing the Law

Crowdsourcing the Law

Trying Sexual Assault on Social Media

Francine Banner


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While the general public may feel uncomfortable discussing sexual assault and violence with neighbors or coworkers, the popularity of Twitter, Snapchat, and a host of other social media platforms suggests that we are not shy about expressing our opinions online. Debates that just a few years ago would have taken place in real life have been relocated online; allowing eager commenters to share their thoughts on guilt or innocence with legions of virtual strangers. Crowdsourcing the Law explores how everyday participants interpret and apply law in the influential online court of public opinion. Engaging a multidisciplinary, case study approach, the book analyzes social media comments about public figures such as Bill Cosby, Brock Turner, and Harvey Weinstein to address ambitious questions like: How are rape myths being challenged, reinforced, and reinvented on social media? What is the promise and peril of the #MeToo movement for transforming the law? And can due process be afforded in the face of an increasingly powerful virtual jury?


Francine Banner:
Francine Banner is attorney and associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.