American gang members tend to treat online social media like an “electronic graffiti wall,” according to a new study published in Justice Quarterly.
Researchers from Arizona State University and Sam Houston State University interviewed 585 young adults — including 418 current and former gang members — about their Internet usage habits.
They found that gangs rarely use the Internet for strategic purposes, such as recruiting new members, drug distribution or other organizational activities, due to worries thaw law enforcement are monitoring their activities.
Instead, gang members showed an affinity for using social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and The Hood Up — a site that features regional gang message boards — for a combination of showboating and research. More than half reported watching gang-related videos online.
Google Ideas, a think tank that explores how technology can help address violent extremism, illicit networks and fragile states, funded the study.
The full study is available for purchase HERE.