How Sextortion was being discussed in Social Media

Written by Stanley Ho

Sextortion is not only a topic of news report, but also a social fact happen in our society. The claim makers and their dominant discourses constructed the perception of sextortion as a crime issue for general public through news media. However, is that traditional mechanism still powerful? What is the situation in social media?

For further examining the feeling and thought of netizens about sextortion in social media, we designed and did a small scale social experiment. LiHKG, one of the most popular discussion forums in Hong Kong, was chosen as our platform. We created a fake story of sextortion. A male user opened a topic about how to help a female victim in the case of sextortion and seek for advice. The experiment started from 10th November, 2017 and ended at 12th November, 2017. Finally, 160 replies from netizens were collected. The methodology of content analysis was applied in this study.

Type of Discourse about Sextortion

All of the 160 comments were grouped in 5 types, which are “Criticizing the Perpetrator”, “Victim-blaming”, “Mocking”, “Support and Suggestion” and “Others”.

The first type is Criticizing the Perpetrator. Surprisingly, there are only 2 comments about criticizing the criminal behavior.

#68
100%要分手 咁嘅痴線佬 仲同佢過人世咩
我建議先報警 睇下佢仲夠唔夠膽要脅你個fd
如果覺得人生會有威脅 就盡量去d 多人嘅地方 or 揾fd 陪番屋企咁

The second type is Victim-blaming. 33 netizens argue that the female victim was too stupid to allow her boyfriend to record the sensitive interaction. She deserved to be punished. Some of them also used harsh and violent to describe the victim, like “雞” (chicken/prostitute ) and “公廁” (public toilet).

#26 識左一年都唔夠扑野片都肯拍就咪扮純情啦
#51 身為女仔都唔識保護自己 仲畀人攞嚟威脅自己 怨得邊個?
#52 未結婚就扑野 仲要拍埋片 條女根本就抵死 幫唔落 臭閪 雞 公廁
#66 怪就怪自己信錯人

The third type is mocking. 43 of the netizens played the role as onlooker. They were making jokes and mocking about the issue but did not give any support and suggestion.

#34 你又同條仔扑  威脅返佢轉頭咪得囉
#41 
樓主有無同條女扑過 鍚過 拖過 攬過?
#53 
報警到時等啲警察有得一齊share段片

The fourth type is support and suggestion. 58 comments were in this group. They provided ideas about how to report the case to police, request social media platform to remove the record, and tips about how to handle the relationship with perpetrator.

#21 真係威脅既就留証劇報警
#38 都係建議和平協議分手  如果識佢屋企人,希望可以由上以下告之佢唔係將D片發放出去,什至刪左去
#44 喺隔離post睇到話先一步上載祼照上Facebook之後Facebook會用算法幫你block咗其上載嘅祼照

The last one is others. It included all of 24 unclassified comments like emoji.

Source: [長文慎入] 如果被前男友用啪啪片威脅可以點做

 

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