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  • Sydney Hummel

Is Social Media Doing True Crime More Harm than Good?

I’m sure if you use TikTok, you have come across a person discussing a true crime case, whether it be trying to solve a current case, or digging up information on a case that was closed 20 years before. Social media has provided regular citizens (citizen sleuths) to become “armchair detectives”, “a growing community of individuals who use their analytical and investigative skills to help solve crimes from the comfort of their own homes.”

While social media can bring light to true crime cases, in some instances, it is the exact opposite. 

Take for example the case of Anjum Coffland, who lost her twin daughters at the hands of her husband. A TikTok user posted a video about the case, and this opened an old wound for Coffland. 

“Putting stuff out there and me finding out from complete strangers and my friends … It just shakes me to my core and makes me angry that you're gaining followers. It's insensitive,” said Coffland.

When armchair detectives post their videos, they must remember the people they’re posting about are real people who went through a real, traumatic event. They can make false accusations that have the potential to ruin someone’s life.

An example is following the University of Idaho murders, a history professor at the University filed a lawsuit against a TikToker who posted a video accusing the professor of having a romantic relationship with one of the victims, and even accused her of being the perpetrator in the case. 

With social media, it is becoming easier and easier for us all to become detectives in a case. This is not to say that social media cannot do good things involving true crime, but it is important that we post content that is not intentionally harmful to victims. 

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