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  1. Arts and Social Sciences
  2. Sociology
About City

Carolina Are

Department: Sociology

Email: Carolina.Are@city.ac.uk

PhD Title: Online Hate Speech on High Profile Criminal Cases: A Modus Operandi


  • City, University of London - Introductory Certificate for Academic Practice (2017-2018)
  • University of Sydney – Master in Criminology (2016-2017)
  • City, University of London – BA Journalism (2011-2014)
  • Liceo Classico Antonio Gramsci, Olbia, Italy (2007-2011)

Research topic

My research aims at identifying the typical patterns of digitised hate speech by analysing the Twitter conversation around high profile criminal cases. My thesis is evolving into a blend of harassment, defamation and insults that tends to result in the sharing of conspiracy theories and misinformation.

The internet should not be a space for people to harass or threaten others without fear of punishment: that goes beyond our right to freedom of speech. In overlooking the importance of a safe, constructive online environment, we are not only doing hate speech and flaming victims a disservice – we are doing a disservice to our community as a whole. Furthermore, digitised hate speech, especially if targeting high profile criminal cases, does not only lower the tone of public debate, but also undermines the foundation of the Criminal Justice System. It can jeopardise one of democracy’s pillars, such as the concept of right to a fair trial, and bypass the media to share fabricated information that influences public decision-making.

Considering that digitised hate speech on high profile criminal cases often relates to the law, current affairs and the online sentiment mirroring the social issues of our times, this research hopes to define and understand what appears to be an ailment of society, a modern version of “anomie”, Durkheim’s theory of social malaise occurring as a result of economic, technological and societal changes within society, applying it to the social media age.


Eugene McLaughlin

Michael Saker

Research Interests

  • Cyber harassment
  • Social networks
  • Twitter
  • Conspiracy Theories
  • Social media research ethics
  • Freedom of expression
  • Misinformation
  • Censorship
  • Social Media Law



  • Introduction to Criminal Justice, Spring 2018 (Criminology/Sociology)
  • Key Issues in Criminology, Autumn 2018 (Criminology/Sociology)
  • Online and Social Media Journalism, Spring 2019 (Journalism)
  • Wordpress Workshop for the Refugee Journalism Project, London College of Communication, Spring 2019 (Journalism)