Social media finds you guilty

Posted by Gina Pappas on July 7, 2011 |

A Florida jury may have acquitted Casey Anthony of murdering her daughter Caylee, but the court of public opinion, with the help of social media, definitely thinks she’s guilty.

On Tuesday afternoon, my Facebook feed was flooded with opinions of the jury’s verdict:

“Casey Anthony is going to make millions in movie and book deals. She’s going to need it to pay for the security detail she will probably need the rest of her life.”

“ ‎”Land of the Free”…where you can get away with murder.”

And within minutes, the top 10 trending topics on Twitter were all related to the high-profile case. Popular hashtags included #notguilty, #caseyanthony and #caseyanthonyverdict. Tweet after Tweet was punctuated with commentary on what the majority perceived as an unfair verdict.

CNN also reported an astounding increase in online traffic between 2pm and 3 pm EST when the not-guilty verdict was announced – to the tune of 12 million page views in an hour and 1.9 million users watching the live stream.

Before the verdict was handed down, Time Magazine had already dubbed the case as “the Social Media Trial of the Century.” Never before has a trial seen so much exposure through social media, not only the coverage of the trial itself, but also the outpouring of grief for Caylee Anthony through Facebook pages dedicated to her memory.

One woman is also using social media to inspire legislative change as a result of the Anthony case. Michelle Crowder, a mother of two from Oklahoma, has created an online petition called “Create Caylee’s Law.” The petition is housed on, which seems to be experiencing extremely high levels of traffic now that the petition has gone viral. You can read more about Crowder and the petition in this Time article.

The case has captivated our country and is certain to remain a hot topic in the weeks to come. Look for continual spikes in Facebook posts and Tweets as the nation keeps its eye on Casey’s every move. But, as Crowder is attempting through her petition, let’s hope America can use social media to inspire positive change for the sake of young Caylee, whose life was taken far too soon.




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