All of the writing I’ve been doing about Mexican drug cartels for Daily Dot — and, specifically, how the cartels are now targeting social media users in the same way that they once targeted cops and journalists — ended up becoming the basis for a lecture I gave this morning on social media as a replacement for traditional journalism, with an examination on all the pros and cons:
People who post information on social media about Mexican drug cartels are essentially facing a two-sided attack. One one side, you have the cartels themselves, which killed three people last month for purportedly posting information on Mexican crime blogs. The cartels themselves are online, posting propaganda about themselves, false information to distract or disparage rivals and law enforcement, and to root out enemies to target for execution.
On the other side is the government, which is looking to avoid a repeat of an August incident in Veracruz, in which tweets about armed gunmen taking hostages at a school spread rapidly. The false reports set off chaos as parents raced across the city to retrieve their children, and now at least two Mexican states are considering laws that would punish people who “disrupt public order” with information they post online.