The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the trial for the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has caused widespread outrage on social media. I was interviewed by WTVR-CBS 6 reporter Tracy Sears about the impact of social media on the online protests against the jury’s decision.
The following is an excerpt of the story “Social media reacts to George Zimmerman’s acquittal” on the website of WTVR-CBS 6 in Richmond:
While the arguments come from both sides, VCU social media professor Marcus Messner says a majority of comments have been generated by people upset over the verdict.
“They were on the losing side of the verdict so it’s natural that the outrage is a little stronger than the support for confirming the verdict,” Messner says. (…)
Messner says while social media and the court of public opinion have played an integral role in the case, he says it’s unclear whether the momentum will continue to have an influence.
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether civil rights charges will be brought against Zimmerman.
“I’d be surprised if social media drives that decision,” Messner says. “I think social media has a very limited time frame.”
Please also read my interview with the blog Bold Economy on the effects of mass outrage that is organized on social media (story in German).