We have known social media to be a main source of news for quite some time. The collective Anonymous describes themselves as “an idea not a group, we are your neighbor, your doctor, We are freedom, Justice, WE DO NOT FORGIVE, WE DO NOT FORGET, EXPECT US. Project #KnightSec”. This group has been following the story of the Steubenville, OH rape case, posting videos and pictures, demanding an apology and convincing others to support them.
As most of you have probably heard, social media has played a role in this case. News outlets reported that back in August of 2012, two teens raped a drunk, unconscious 16-year-old girl at a party while others tweeted and posted pictures on Instagram about it. A video was also released of the teenage boys talking slanderously about the girl and the rape.
This video along with photos of the two boys carrying the young girl went viral over the internet in the next few days after the rape. The two boys were arrested and have since been found guilty.
With the release of video and pictures, social media has proven once again that what is posted on the internet, stays on the internet. Anonymous released a video announcing they have the list of everyone involved including their personal information. At the end of the video, snapshots are shown of the “rape crew’s” social media sites talking about the events of that night. Anonymous has also been accused of hacking into the school’s website and the personal social media pages and email accounts of people who defended the young boys. These pictures can be seen on @KYanonymous on Twitter.
Since the news went viral about the rape, there have been protests outside of the Jefferson County Courthouse about how the case is being handled. The rally referred to as “Occupy Steubenville” was organized by Anonymous and many protestors wore the iconic Guy Fawkes mask from “V for Vendetta” that has become the same signature mask of Anonymous.
Social media has the power to educate, expose and spread news from country to country around the world. Local news can become national news in a flash. The real question seems to be, is Anonymous in the right or wrong? Are they publicly defacing authority in Ohio or spreading an issue that is frequently overlooked? Do they really want to see justice served or just make a name for themselves? Whatever the case, if social media is involved, we can almost guarantee this case won’t subdue silently.
*Information about the case was updated in July 2020.