Investigators recently set out to consider whether homicides involving social networking sites were unique and worthy of labels such as 'Facebook Murder', and to explore the ways in which perpetrators had used such sites in the homicides they had committed.
The cases they identified were not collectively unique or unusual when compared with general trends and characteristics—certainly not to a degree that would necessitate the introduction of a new category of homicide or a broad label like 'Facebook Murder'.
"Victims knew their killers in most cases, and the crimes echoed what we already know about this type of crime," said Dr. Elizabeth Yardley, co-author of the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice article.
"Social networking sites like Facebook have become part and parcel of our everyday lives and it's important to stress that there is nothing inherently bad about them. Facebook is no more to blame for these homicides than a knife is to blame for a stabbing—it's the intentions of the people using these tools that we need to focus upon."
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Yardley, E. and Wilson, D. (2014), Making Sense of 'Facebook Murder'? Social Networking Sites and Contemporary Homicide. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice. DOI: 10.1111/hojo.12109