Imprisoned for a ‘like’: The criminal prosecution of social media users under authoritarianism

Tutkimustuotos: Artikkeli kirjassa/raportissa/konferenssijulkaisussaKirjan luku tai artikkeliTieteellinen


Most states, including Western democracies, use the internet and social media as tools for the surveillance of citizens. As of 2012, Russia passed an extensive package of laws expanding the secret services’ surveillance apparatus and state authorities’ capacity to censor online content. On paper, these amendments were passed to constrain the spread of ‘extremist’ content online. In practice, they are also used to arbitrarily prosecute Russian citizens for what they say and do online. Between 2012 and 2017, more than 80 Russians faced criminal charges for ‘liking’ or sharing third-party content on social media. In examining a sample of these cases, this chapter complicates our understanding of how and why states prosecute citizens for their online behaviour. Although we would assume that Russia prosecutes citizens for ‘likes’ and ‘reposts’ to incite fear and restrain the freedom of expression, nevertheless this chapter finds that criminal prosecution of online behaviour is not specific to Russia or other authoritarian contexts. Moreover, it confirms earlier findings that the increasing number of prosecutions is the likely result of a bias towards convictions in Russia’s criminal justice system and competition within the secret services.
OtsikkoFreedom of Expression in Russia’s New Mediasphere
ToimittajatMariëlle Wijermars, Katja Lehtisaari
Artikkeli no10
ISBN (painettu)978-1-138-34665-9
ISBN (elektroninen)978-0-429-43720-5
TilaJulkaistu - 2019
OKM-julkaisutyyppiB2 Kirjan tai muun kokoomateoksen osa


NimiBASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies


  • 5141 Sosiologia
  • 513 Oikeustiede

Siteeraa tätä

Van der Vet, F. (2019). Imprisoned for a ‘like’: The criminal prosecution of social media users under authoritarianism. teoksessa M. Wijermars, & K. Lehtisaari (Toimittajat), Freedom of Expression in Russia’s New Mediasphere (Sivut 209-224). [10] (BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies). Abingdon: Routledge.