Journal of Social Philosophy 51 (3):371-390 (2020)

Authors
Tom Parr
University of Essex
Paul Billingham
Oxford University
Abstract
We are witnessing increasing use of the Internet, particular social media, to criticize (perceived or actual) moral failings and misdemeanors. This phenomenon of so-called ‘online public shaming’ could provide a powerful tool for reinforcing valuable social norms. But it also threatens unwarranted and severe punishments meted out by online mobs. This paper analyses the dangers associated with the informal enforcement of norms, drawing on Locke, but also highlights its promise, drawing on recent discussions of social norms. We then consider two crucial conditions that online public shaming must meet in order to be justifiable: proportionality and accountability. We argue that these requirements are in fact frequently violated, rendering most cases of online public shaming unjustified. While the use of online public shaming against others’ vices has some apparent virtues, it is currently rarely justified, given its own vices.
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DOI 10.1111/josp.12308
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References found in this work BETA

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Enforcing Social Norms: The Morality of Public Shaming.Paul Billingham & Tom Parr - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):997-1016.

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The Problem of Public Shaming☆.Harrison Frye - forthcoming - Journal of Political Philosophy.

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