skip to content

Social Media and Human Rights


Dr Daniel Trottier, Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Digital Vigilantism and the Weaponisation of Visibility on Social Media

When vigilantism is expressed through digital media, it seeks and circulates targeted offenders’ personal information. The purpose of these acts is both informational in the sharing of details about transgressions, but also punitive in the type of visibility wilfully enacted against the target. Following an overview of relevant literature on user-led surveillance and policing, this talk will address some methodological challenges and possibilities associated with studying DV.


Daniel Trottier is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Communication of Erasmus University Rotterdam.  His current research considers the use of social media by police and intelligence agencies, as well as other forms of policing that occur on these platforms. As part of this research, he has participated in two European Commission projects on security, privacy and digital media. Daniel has authored several articles in peer-reviewed journals on this and other topics, as well as Social Media as Surveillance with Ashgate in 2012, Identity Problems in the Facebook Era with Routledge in 2013, and Social Media, Politics and the State (co-edited with Christian Fuchs) with Routledge in 2014.

Required reading (contact for a copy)

Trottier, Daniel. 2015. Digital Vigilantism as Weaponisation of Visibility. Unpublished manuscript currently under review.

Supplementary readings

Trottier, Daniel. 2014. Big Data Ambivalence: Visions and Risks in PracticeBig Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research, edited by Martin Hand and Sam Hillyard, 51-72. Emerald Publishers.

Trottier, Daniel. 2013. Crowdsourcing CCTV Surveillance on the InternetInformation, Communication & Society 17(5): 609-626. 

Schneider, Christopher and Daniel Trottier, Daniel (equal contributors listed alphabetically). 2012. The 2011 Vancouver Riot and the Role of Facebook in Crowd-Sourced PolicingBC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly 175(Autumn): 57-72.

Eventbrite - Digital Vigilantism & the Weaponisation of Visibility on Social Media

About this website

This is the website for Ella McPherson's work related to her 2014-17 ESRC-funded research project, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs, and the Potential for Governmental Accountability.