Ethical Debates in Connected Culture 2019/Offence and Antisocial Communications


The 21st century is called “the Information Era” and the mass of network information has provided a lot of convenience for the majority of Internet users. However, it is undeniable that netizens are not only enjoying the convenience of network information but also suffering from the distress caused by bad network information. [1]As Manuel Castells stated in the book Mobile Communication and Society, the rapid development of network information technology not only brings convenience to Internet users, but also has hidden dangers. All kinds of network crimes damage the rights and interests of Internet users such as personal life and property. [2]For example, in recent decades, social media has become an important carrier of youth violence and has greatly changed the pattern of violence. Cyber crime has caused great damage to Internet users in terms of property, privacy and spirit. Effective governance of cyber crime is urgent.
To improve the governance mechanism of network illegal behavior, firstly, it is necessary to discuss the definition of network crime, the causes of network crime, the characteristics of network crime and the types of network crime. And then try to put forward effective measures to control network crime, so as to create a safe and convenient network communication environment.
Damaging network communication behavior can be roughly divided into the following three parts, their damages increases from top to bottom are:
1.Dissemination of cyber violence and discriminatory information
2.Antisocial games on social media
3.Terrorist Propaganda on Social Media

In the next part, we will try to explore the different negative effects of immoral and illegal information on individuals and the society, and try to analyze its characteristics and causes, so as to put forward feasible suggestions to reduce the harm caused by malignant network information.

Main DiscussionEdit

Dissemination of cyber violence and discriminatory informationEdit

Definition and overviewEdit

Cyber violence is a form of violence with extensive harm and bad influence. It is a kind of behavior phenomenon of publishing harmful, insulting and inflammatory words, words, pictures and videos on the Internet, that is, using words, words, pictures and videos to attack others on the Internet, which is commonly called "network violence". Internet violence can cause reputation damage to the parties, and it has broken the moral bottom line, often accompanied by infringement and illegal criminal behavior, it is urgent to use education, moral constraints, legal means to regulate.
Internet violence is the violent behavior of netizens on the Internet and the extension of social violence on the Internet. It is different from the physical violence in real life, but with the help of the virtual space of the network with language to hurt and slander people. These vicious remarks, pictures and videos are often published by netizens of a certain scale, because some of the comments posted on the Internet violate human public morality and traditional values and touch the bottom line of human morality. These languages have evil, words, pictures, video, vitriolic, and other basic characteristics of cruel, are beyond the scope for normal comment on these events, the party in the event not only for personal attacks, malicious slander, more will this damage behavior from the virtual network to the real society, the event is to carry on the "human flesh search", will be the true identity, name, photo, details such as personal privacy. These comments and practices not only seriously affected the mental state of the parties, but also disrupted their work, study and life order, and even caused serious consequences.

Classification of cyber violenceEdit

Cyber violence is mainly manifested in the following three forms:
1.Netizens publish false and harmful, insulting and inflammatory remarks on the Internet about unverified or verified Internet incidents, thus causing damage to the reputation of the parties concerned.
Even more serious, to the parties and their friends and relatives of the normal life of action and speech intrusion, resulting in the loss of their personal rights. Internet violence about irrational human flesh search is everywhere, and the movie “Caught in the Web” well reflects this problem. [3]The movie is about the cyber violence caused by the “give up your seat” incident on the bus. The heroine in the movie was so devastated by her sudden diagnosis of cancer, and then on the way to her home she forgot to offer her seat to an old man on the bus, it was filmed video on the network, resulting in group decision, on the network attack by means of written words, images, human flesh search engine and network violence will eventually tying into early death. In many cases, netizens habitually take sides with those who think they are just and judge others with moral force. However, they do not know that in this process, they act as executioners, but fail to make their own judgment to distinguish the truth. However, the way to trigger Internet violence through human flesh search and ultimately hurt the parties is very inadequate, and no one has the right to use moral power to judge others.
2.Disclose the personal privacy of the parties in real life on the Internet and violate their privacy.
An earlier example was a 22-year-old South Korean schoolgirl whose face had been altered when photos of her appeared on a photo-sharing website in 2006. After seeing the photos, her friends called her repeatedly to confirm the situation. There are many privacy issues on the Internet, which can cause serious harm to the victims.
3.Network prejudice mainly focuses on racial discrimination and prejudice.
[4]Researchers believe that online racial discrimination includes the phenomenon of derogating or excluding an individual due to racial issues expressed by symbols, sounds, images, texts and geographical representations. Online racial discrimination can occur in social networking sites, chat rooms, BBS, web pages, text messages, online songs, online videos and online games. One experiment, for example, showed white college students black, white and robot avatars on a computer and asked them to choose which one they liked. The results showed that the majority of white college students chose white avatars, and they preferred to use white avatars as their online gaming partners and virtual coaches. In particular, white students with high racial prejudice had a significantly higher preference for robots than black students. [5]This study shows that cyberspace has become another place for racial discrimination. Another study on online racial discrimination showed that the depression and anxiety of individuals subject to online racial discrimination would increase significantly, and the harm to women would be especially serious.

Causes of FormationEdit

There are many root causes of Internet violence, one is the anonymity of Internet users, so there is a lack of legal system and moral constraints on the Internet; the other is the low quality of some Internet users; the third is the lag of the rule of law and spiritual civilization construction in the society itself. The virtuality of the network enables participants to conceal or fabricate their identities, which makes the norms and constraints that should be observed in real life lose their due binding force. This is undoubtedly a paradise of freedom for some netizens who are not impulsive and indulgent.

Prevention and control measures Prevention and control measuresEdit

Network is a virtual world, but also a parallel with the real world, integration of the real world;With the openness, interactivity and anonymity of the Internet, it is easy for some netizens’ irresponsible words and deeds to turn into cyber violence, which infringes on the privacy rights and other legitimate rights of the parties concerned and causes great mental and psychological harm to them. Therefore, the whole society must attach great importance to it. Experts believe that prevention and control network violence must be combined, comprehensive prevention and control. Through effective publicity and education, it is necessary to improve the moral self-discipline consciousness of Internet users, especially the majority of young people, enhance their ability of discrimination, choice and immunity to vulgar culture, cultivate a healthy mentality and sound personality, and advocate civilized and responsible network behavior in the whole society. Relevant functional departments should speed up the legislative research on the protection of personal information, introduce relevant regulations and systems as soon as possible, intensify the punishment according to law, regulate people's network behavior through legal means, and purify the network environment.

Antisocial games on social mediaEdit

Definition of antisocial gamesEdit

If we define antisocial games on social networks as cyber violence or obscene games, then we ignore its harm, because the two are entirely different. We tend to overestimate the harm of cyber violence games. It is difficult to define whether violent online games are harmful. Some scholars have stated that video games involving negative content such as violence, gore, and obscenity have no direct correlation with juvenile delinquency. [6]Patrick and other statistics from 2007 to 2011 The relationship between game sales and crime rate, it is found that when the game sales increase, the number of violent cases during the same period has also decreased significantly. This phenomenon is particularly apparent when well-known obscene and violent games such as "Grand Theft Auto" are released. Compared to the harm of online games Difficult to define, antisocial games mean complete crimes. Antisocial games that rely on social network transmission exist in the form of organizations. All players are members of the organization. It controls players with thought control or threats of violence. So once players enter the game, it is difficult for them to get out. At present, no scholars define antisocial games In a way, antisocial games are a cult that controls people's minds. They rely on social media to continually develop new players. The setter of the game plays the role of God. Other participants were both criminals and victims. We can understand its dangers and characteristics from a typical case.

A typical case study: "blue whale gamesEdit
what is the blue whale gameEdit

[7] "Blue Whale", also known as "Blue Whale Death Game", "Blue Whale Challenge", and "Wake Me Up at 4:20", is a social network game originating in Russia and has now spread to many countries. [8] The reason why the blue whale game is named "Blue Whale" may be related to the behaviour of the blue whale stranding suicide. Like many ordinary games, players of the blue whale game need to upgrade by completing various tasks until the game is completed. The difference is that the “Final Victory ” of the blue whale game means the end of the player's life.[9]The game administrator declared that "the best things in life start with the Russian letter 'С',-семья ́ (family), суббо ́ а (Saturday), секс (sex), and самоуби ́йство (suicide)" and they tried to manipulate the players undefined minds, which is similar to the brainwashing of some cults."Blue Whale" game participants are usually required to post blue whale patterns on their social network platforms, or even Use a sharp weapon to draw a blue whale pattern on the body. Participants are required to provide picture or video evidence each time they complete the task. After 50 days, in order to prove "win the game", participants will be asked to commit suicide [10]Russian police are investigating the relevance of the "Blue Whale" game to 130 suicide teenagers who occurred in Russia between November 2015 and April 2016, all of the members of the same Internet community. [11] On May 10, 2017, Philip Budeikin, the founder of Blue Whale Death Game, was accused of instigating at least 16 girls to participate in his blue whale suicide social media game. He told investigators that they were all "happy to die", although the founder already arrested, this "death game" has not been terminated as a result. [12]Because of its nature of spreading through the Internet, this "game" has spread from Russia to other countries, and related suicide cases have appeared [13] The United Kingdom, Argentina, Mexico and other countries have issued relevant warnings, calling on parents to pay attention to their children's online behavior. [14]One information shows that more than 200,000 people in Russia have participated in the "Blue Whale" game, and this game continues to expand to the world.


The “tricks” of the blue whaleEdit

Blue whale games are typical of anti-social games, and there are many ways to expand and control members.
1spread using social media
Instigating suicide is not a new thing, the most traditional instigating suicide is only through face-to-face communication between two people, and the spread is minimal. The prosperity of paper media such as newspapers and books provide a new carrier for instigating suicide. In 1993, the book Complete Suicide Manual written by Wataru Tsurumi was released in Japan, and 500,000 copies were issued in just one year. However, The Internet makes the development of abetting suicide more rampant, and the timeliness of the network has dramatically enhanced the spread of the blue whale game. Social media crime is not the same as cybercrime. The former is more interactive and secretive. It is easier for managers to control new players. At the same time, social media is highly private, which involves the private sector. It is difficult for the government to monitor it, which gives the space for "blue whale" action.
2 absolute control of the player
The first is information control. The most common method is to block the player's information exchange. The Manager controls the player's time and environment, so that members do not have enough opportunities to access other information. For example, players are required to get up at 4:20 and do the task, such as watching horror movies all day, or not communicating with the outside world. So that participants are exposed to harmful or death information every day.
The second is behaviour control. The standard method is “Deindividuated”. Why some kind people on the battlefield become the villains who make the Holocaust? Why can an ordinary person become fearless and take Suicide attacks? This is often because they have lost their "individuality" in long-term brainwashing, treating themselves thoroughly as a role in the collective, and only doing this role "should do". Participants have more than once The ground was ordered to carve "blue whale" totems around his body by means of self-harm; at the same time, this totem appeared as an organizational mark in every scene of the game, which reminded the game participants "You are People in this collective role "," You are not yourself but a role ".
Finally, it is personality destruction. A standard method is [15]"Learned Helplessness" to destroy the individual's entire self-confidence system. "Learned Helplessness" refers to the act of being at the mercy of repeated failures or punishments. This theory dates back to 1967. American psychologist Seligman proposed it through animal experiments. He locked the dog in the cage, and as soon as the dog touched the cage door, he gave the dog an unbearable electric shock. After many experiments, even if he opened the cage, the dog will no longer run away, but will only curl up in a cage. Just like the desperate dog in the experiment, once the player realizes that no matter how hard he tries, he cannot change the inevitable result, he will give up all effort and showing negative emotions such as helplessness, hopelessness, and depression. Organizers raise questions from time to time to make participants doubt and deny life; crackdown on participants' self-esteem (including abuse); use naked photos to threaten participants do not quit. Participants end up in extreme depression and even suicide.

Characteristics of antisocial gamesEdit

From the typical case of Blue Whale, we can summarize the characteristics of antisocial games on social media.

strong diffusivityEdit

[16]In 1967, Stanley Milgram wanted to depict an interpersonal network linking people and communities. After an experiment, they found a "six-degree separation" phenomenon. In other words, "No more than six people will be separated from any stranger, that is, you can know any stranger through a maximum of six people. which also means that on social media, we have a high probability of being exposed to antisocial organiser. Antisocial games are not far away from us, and the development of social media gives us more access to anti-social games.


There have been beautification trends of dark things on the Internet, such as the beautification of depression, self-harm, and anorexia, which have attracted young people to follow suit. [17] In 2012, the Atlantic Magazine of the United States proposed "beautify pain" in the online community. It is believed that social platforms represented by Tumblr are portraying suicide, depression, eating disorders, and self-abandonment as beautiful, romantic, profound, and dark. Just as the blue whale game instigates suicide by beautifying pain and sacred death. Social games confuse players by shaping a pathological value and enhancing the rules of the game.

strong hiddenEdit

Strong hidden is a common feature of all cybercrimes. We can identify illegal activities in real life, but virtual communities blur the boundaries of crime. The internet is a virtual space, and the Game creators and managers often use false identities. Due to the anonymity and virtual nature of the network, it is difficult to find offenders. Due to the anonymity and virtual nature of the network, it is difficult to find offenders for us.

Cybercrime and Terrorism PropagandaEdit


Cybercrime refers to crimes committed using computers and networks.[18] It is also defined as "crimes committed against individuals or groups with criminal motives, using modern telecommunication networks such as the Internet and mobile phones, directly or indirectly damaging the reputation of the victim or causing physical or mental injury or loss."[19] With the rapid development of the Internet, the problem of cybercrime is increasingly rampant. Traditional areas of Internet crime include: hacking, copyright infringement, illegal surveillance, sexual assault, child pornography, etc.[20] In 2014, a McAfee report estimated the annual cost to the global economy at about $445 billion.[21] In 2018, A study by the Centre for strategic and international studies (CSIS) and McAfee concluded that nearly $600bn (almost 1 per cent of global GDP) was lost to cybercrime each year[22].

In recent years, the concealment and immediacy of the Internet make it an advantageous tool for criminal organizations and terrorist organizations.[23] As described in a McAfee report (2018), cybercrime is relentless. Given its low cost and high return, it seems unlikely to stop. [24].This chapter will explore two typical Internet crimes that have received close attention in recent years: Black market on dark Web and Cyberterrorism. Through the analysis of these two types of criminal activities, this chapter will explore the characteristics of Internet crime, harm and countermeasures of various countries.

Criminal Activities on the Dark WebEdit

The Internet is seen as an ideal way to spread information and propaganda. However, its open nature also provides a fast, cheap and anonymous way for criminal organizations and extremist groups to communicate. The dark web is a classic example of Internet abuse.

What is the dark web?Edit

Contrary to imagination of public, the dark web is a very small but inaccessible part of our internet. The Internet has connected a large number of computers, servers and other devices, and it has realized the cyberspace we use. However, this cyberspace is actually divided into two parts: surface web that can be accessed or searched and deep web that are difficult to access. The former is the Internet that the public is familiar with and can be accessed through search engines such as Google and Yahoo. The latter is a hidden network space for most network users, which is difficult for ordinary users to access. Deep web are considered to occupy most of the Internet space. It is estimated that deep networks are about 4,000 to 5,000 times larger than surface web.[25] Most deep cyberspace has legitimate uses. In fact, individuals often visit deep networks, such as social network accounts, network disks, and timely communication data. The dark web discussed in this section is defined as a small part of the space that is difficult to access in deep networks. It is estimated that it accounts for less than 0.01% of websites on the Internet: there are approximately 45,000 dark websites and hundreds of millions of ordinary websites.[26] The only way to access the dark web is to use a special browser, such as an onion router, which usually also requires a password. The dark web is usually anonymous, which makes it easy to become a safe haven for cybercriminals. Due to access difficulties, it remains largely unregulated by the government.Well-known networks on dark web include Freenet, Tor, and I2P.[27]

Child abuse informationEdit

Child abuse and child pornography are the largest part of dark web traffic. In a study by the University of Portsmouth, researchers observed that more than 80% of Tor's traffic requests to hidden sites were directed at known child abuse sites. [28]

Illegal tradingEdit

The drug trade is also an integral part of the black web market. The Silk Road is one of the largest and most notorious dark web markets. The site is suspected of drug trading, forged documents, hacking, stolen goods and money laundering services. American Ross William Ulbricht developed and launched the site in 2011. When the FBI shut down the site in October 2013 and arrested Ubudricht, the Silk Road has already generated more than $ 200 million in sales and Ubudricht received a commission of $ 18 million.[29] The black market on the Silk Road is largely similar to the traditional black market. Like the traditional black market, the site is not subject to economic regulation by the state government, nor is it regulated by the state government's formal legal mechanism for interference in the transaction relationship, the federal government.

Flowchart of The Silk Road's payment system, produced as evidence in the trial of its owner.
Terrorist activitiesEdit

As the jihadist movement expands globally, the use of the Internet by Islamic extremists and jihadist groups has increased. Some reports claim that thousands of jihadist sites support the ummah of these organizations and distribute recruitment videos, strategy papers, presentations, and combat computer games. Extremists watch, share, and transmit violent terrorist videos through the dark web. Chen(2011) collected the entire contents of about 300 terrorist forums (author, title, post, post, time tag, etc.) through the dark web. Researcher also perform regular updates. Some large radical websites have more than 30,000 members and publish nearly 1 million messages.This Studies have proved that the dark web has a huge role in spreading terrorist videos.[30]


Although the original intention of the construction of the dark web was not a criminal act. For example, the original purpose of the Tor network was to pass information to the US Navy. In fact, most of the traffic on the dark web was illegal.Government departments need to pay attention to dark web crimes. The legal framework is essential to support criminal investigations. In dealing with cases of child abuse websites on the dark web, current U.S. law does not seem to keep up with technological developments. The disposal of the "Silk Road" is an example of a less successful US government strategy. Despite the arrest of operator Ross Ulbricht, there has been an explosion of illegal goods on the black market since the FBI closed the Silk Road in October 2013. Multiple black market websites continue to appear, and try to further expand the size of the black market.[31]The judiciary needs to seek further strategies to strengthen the handling of illegal websites.

Terrorist Propaganda on Social MediaEdit

Since 2014, Social media has proven to be an extremely useful propaganda tool for terrorist organizations and is well-suited to the audiences it intends to target[32]. Globalized social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, allow ISIS's promotions to reach the world in real time and target those who are potential supporters.ISIS successfully used these platforms to attract a large number of extremists and their families to participate in terrorist activities. This section will explore terrorist organizations' promotion strategies on social media and possible response policies

Flag of ISIS
Seduction strategies for womenEdit

ISIS recruitment of women is considered successful. They recruited female staff and advised female supporters, including information on how to move to the Islamic State and launch terrorist attacks. Erin Marie Saltman, a Senior Counter Extremism Researcher for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), confirms that the islamic state policy has been quite successful because it creates a level of comfort in talking to another woman.Talking to women can ease people's tension.[33]The details of the case of three schoolgirls in London illustrate the power of social media to induce vulnerable young people to join ISIS.In February of 2014, Amira Abase, just 15 years old, and her friends, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Shamima Begum, 15, took a bus to Gatwick Airport and boarded a flight to Istanbul.From there they took a bus to Turkey's border with Syria where they were met by ISIS operatives who took the girls by car into Syria.Investigators believe that Shamima, one of the three London schoolgirls, connected online via Twitter with Aqsa Mahmood.In November 2013, Aqsa Mahmood left her own moderate Muslim family and their affluent home in Glasgow, Scotland, and made her way to Syria.She was 19 years old at the time.Mahmood's family believes that Asqa was also likely radicalized online, making contacts online with others who persuaded her to join the extremists in Syria.

Seduction strategies for adolescentEdit

Recruitment policies for young people by extremist organizations are similar to those for women. ISIS is good at using social media to meet Muslim youth in Western societies, and most of them have been discriminated against.Considering that Muslim parents have limited knowledge of social media, they generally cannot interfere with their children's behavior on social media, which opens the door to Islamic State's confusion.[34]

Participatory interaction on social mediaEdit

ISIS publishes images and videos about terrorist activities and beautifying its domination through social networking sites to attract more people to join them.But that's not all. Research reveals that Islamic State has adopted participatory propaganda on social media.The Arabic program 'The Dawn of Glad Tidings' (or simply 'Dawn') developed by the organization on Twitter allowed thousands of activists to repeatedly tweet tags. This directly leads users to see the information of terrorist organizations in the first time when searching for keywords that may be related to the organization[35] Even, Islamic State supporters launched a Twitter tag # the-FridoyofSupportingsis written in Arabic, asking supporters around the world to wave flags of terrorist organizations in public, shoot movies themselves, and upload clips on social media , This tag attracted more than 20,000 mentions on Twitter[36]

Preventive solutionEdit

Blocking the accounts of terrorists on social media is doomed.Once an account is closed, another account will appear. In addition, the closure of social media accounts is also suspected of banning free speech.Blaker argue that a better option is to track accounts of terrorist groups and their members with social media platforms and ISIS, and identify groups of potential supporters that ISIS is trying to reach.Only through social networks to find out the real reason why Western Muslim groups are attracted by terrorist organizations, can we completely eliminate the foundation of terrorist organizations' publicity on social media.[37]

Concluding RemarksEdit

This section discusses behaviors of offence and antisocial communications that exist in social media and other Internet communities. This article introduces for the first time the definition and status of cybercrime and antisocial social activities. Then this article discusses three different levels of cyber-hazardous activities according to their severity. Cyber violence and discriminatory speech belong to the first level of activity. Studies show that discriminatory behavior and cyber violence are widespread in our online community. Although this level of cyber antisocial behavior remains verbal, its behavior has violated legal and moral regulations.The second level of activity mainly refers to anti-social games on social media. Such activities are often manifested by adults' deliberate misleading and mental control of underage minors, ultimately enticing them to harm themselves. Such incidents should alert the community to the online social security issues of adolescents. Finally, this article explores serious crimes on the Internet. The third section selects the illegal trading on the dark web and terrorist propaganda as cases, discusses the harmfulness of Internet crimes, and discusses possible countermeasures. We hope that through the discussion in this chapter, we will explain our analysis process and perspectives on Internet offence and anti-social communication and explore possible responses.

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