Chilling effects, online harassment, cyberbullying, free speech, first amendment, empirical legal research, cyberharassment, women's rights, gender studies
Do laws criminalizing online harassment and cyberbullying "chill" online speech? Critics often argue that they do. However, this article discusses findings from a new empirical legal study that suggests, counter-intuitively, that while such legal interventions likely have some dampening effect, they may also facilitate and encourage more speech, expression, and sharing by those who are most often the targets of online harassment: women. Relevant findings on this point from this first-of-its-kind study are set out and discussed along with their implications.
Jonathon W. Penney, “Can Cyber Harassment Laws Encourage Online Speech?” in Urs Gasser et al, eds, Perspectives on Harmful Speech Online, Berkman Klein Center Research Publication (Boston: Harvard University, 2017).