Deviance in Social Media

  • Samer Al-khateeb
  • Nitin Agarwal
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Cybersecurity book series (BRIEFSCYBER)


In this chapter, we explain what we mean by deviance in social media . We give examples of four types of deviance as observed on social media, viz., deviant acts , deviant events , deviant tactics , and deviant groups . We provide historical information, definitions, and examples that will be studied/explained in more details throughout the book. This chapter would help the readers understand the scope of the problem of deviance in social media, familiarize with definitions and examples of deviant events, groups, acts, and tactics, and peek at the social science theories that can explain such emergent deviant behaviors on social media.


Deviance in social media Online deviant behaviors Deviant groups Online deviant events Online deviant tactics Theory of collective action 


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    B. Marr, How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Read. Available:
  3. 3.
    N. Agarwal, M. Lim, and R.T. Wigand, Online Collective Action: Dynamics of the Crowd in Social Media (Springer, Vienna, 2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    N. Agarwal et al., Raising and rising voices in social media: a novel methodological approach in studying cyber-collective movements. Bus. Inf. Technol. Syst. Eng. 4(3), 113–126 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    N. Staff, The Arab Spring: A year of revolution, in National Public Radio (NPR) (Dec. 2011). Available:
  6. 6.
    M. Atkinson, Parkour, anarcho-environmentalism, and poiesis. J. Sport Soc. Issues 33(2), 169–194 (2009)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Y.S. Mohilever, Taking over the city: developing a cybernetic geographical imagination-flash mobs & parkour, in Theatre Space After 20th Century (2012) p. 188Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    “ EEAS - European External Action Service - European Commission. Available:
  9. 9.
    EU vs Disinformation - EU vs Disinformation. Available:
  10. 10.
    Definition of Deviance in English by Oxford Dictionaries. Available:
  11. 11.
  12. 12.
    J. Devine, F. Egger-Sider, Beyond Google: the invisible web in the academic library. J. Acad. Librariansh. 30(4), 265–269 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    S. Raghavan, H. Garcia-Molina, Crawling the Hidden Web, Stanford, Tech. Rep. (2000)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    N. Hamilton, The mechanics of a deep net metasearch engine, in WWW (Posters) (2003)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    A. Greenberg, Hacker Lexicon: What is The Dark Web? (Nov. 2014). Available:
  16. 16.
    M.K. Bergman, White paper: the deep web: surfacing hidden value. J. Electron. Publ. 7(1), (2001)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    S. Al-khateeb, M.N. Hussain, N. Agarwal, Social cyber forensics approach to study twitter’s and blogs’ influence on propaganda campaigns, in International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation (Springer, Berlin, 2017), pp. 108–113.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    S. Al-khateeb, K.J. Conlan, N. Agarwal, I.Baggili, F. Breitinger, Exploring Deviant Hacker Networks (DHN) on social media platforms. J. Digit. Forensic Secur. Law 11(2), 7–20. Available:
  19. 19.
    D. Sindelar, The kremlin’s troll army: Moscow is financing legions of pro-Russia Internet commenters. But how much do they matter? The Atlantic (Aug. 2014). Available:
  20. 20.
    K. Vick, Iraq’s Second Largest City Falls to Extremists. Available:
  21. 21.
    T. Arango, Key Iraqi City Falls to Isis as Last of Security Forces Flee. Available:
  22. 22.
    T. A. et al., How ISIS Works (2014). Available:
  23. 23.
    M. Townsend, T. Helm, Jihad in a Social Media Age: How Can the West Win an Online War?. Available:
  24. 24.
    J. Berger, How ISIS Succeeds on Social Media Where #StopKony Fails Even with fewer clicks. The Atlantic (March 16, 2015)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    S. Al-khateeb, N. Agarwal, Analyzing deviant cyber Flash Mobs of ISIL on twitter, in Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, and Prediction (Springer, Berlin, 2015), pp. 251–257.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    C. Staff. ISIS Video Appears to Show Beheadings of Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya. Available:
  27. 27.
    T.n. editorial. ISIL Executes an Israeli Arab After Accusing him of Been an Israeli Spy. Available:
  28. 28.
    K. Shaheen. ISIS Video Purports to Show Massacre of Two Groups of Ethiopian Christians. Available:
  29. 29.
    C. News, ISIS recruits fighters through powerful online campaign, in Last checked: July 1, 2015, August 29, 2014
  30. 30.
    D. Quiggle, The ISIS beheading narrative. Small Wars J. (Feb 26, 2015). Accessed 12 Mar 2019. Available:
  31. 31.
    R. Janes, Losing Our Heads: Beheadings in Literature and Culture (NYU, New York, 2005)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    T.J. Holt, Examining the forces shaping cybercrime markets online. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. 31(2), 165–177 (2013). Available: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    T.J. Holt, Exploring the social organisation and structure of stolen data markets. Glob. Crime 14(2–3), 155–174 (2013). Available: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    E. Moreau, Here’s What you Need to Know About Internet Trolling. Available:
  35. 35.
    Z. Davis, Definition of: Trolling (2009). Available:
  36. 36.
    I. University, What is a Troll? (2013). Available:
  37. 37.
    M. Allen, Kremlin’s ‘Social Media Takeover’: Cold War Tactics Fuel Ukraine Crisis (Mar. 2014). Available:
  38. 38.
    Oxford-Dictionary, Definition of flash mob from Oxford English dictionaries online, in Oxford English Dictionaries. Last checked 19 Dec 2016
  39. 39.
  40. 40.
    G. Ackerman, D. Blair, G. Butler, H. Cabayan, R. Damron, J.D. Keefe, T. King, D. Hallstrom, S. Helfstein, D. Hulsey, et al., The New Face of Transnational Crime Organizations (TCOs): A Geopolitical Perspective and Implications to US National Security (Calhoun Institutional Archive of the Naval Postgraduate School, Mar. 2013).
  41. 41.
    B. Holbrook, LBPD Prepared For Potential Bash Mob Event (Jul. 2013), p. 00000. Available:
  42. 42.
    S. Al-khateeb, N. Agarwal, Analyzing flash mobs in cybernetic space and the imminent security threats a collective action based theoretical perspective on emerging sociotechnical behaviors, in 2015 AAAI Spring Symposium Series.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Cyveillance, Bashmobs: Using Social Media to Organize Disruptive Activity. Available:
  44. 44.
    J.S. Coleman, The Mathematics of Collective Action. (New York, Routledge, July 12, 2017). 1st edn., 2005. 246p, eISBN 9781351479714. Accessed 12 Mar 2019. Available:;
  45. 45.
    B. Klandermans, J.M. Sabucedo, M. Rodriguez, M. De Weerd, Identity processes in collective action participation: Farmers’ Identity and farmers’ protest in the Netherlands and Spain. Polit. Psychol. 23(2) 235–251. Available:
  46. 46.
    A. Melucci, Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age (Cambridge University, Cambridge, 1996), p. 00017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    J.S. Coleman, Foundations for a Theory of Collective Decisions, vol. 71(6). Available:
  48. 48.
    V. Labatut, N. Dugue, A. Perez, Identifying the Community Roles of Social Capitalists in the Twitter Network, p. 8. Available:
  49. 49.
    M. Olson, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Harvard University, Cambridge, 1977)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    R.H. Coase, The nature of the firm. Economica 4(16), 386–405 (1937)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    P.G. Warr, Pareto optimal redistribution and private charity. J. Public Econ. 19(1), 131–138 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    P.G. Warr, The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income. Econ. Lett. 13(2), 207–211 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    T. Sandler, J.T. Tschirhart, The economic theory of clubs: an evolutionary survey. J. Econ. Lit. Am. Econ. Assoc. 18(4), 1481–1521 (1980)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    A. Rubinstein, Equilibrium in supergames with the overtaking criterion. J. Econ. Theory 21(1), 1–9 (1979)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    G.S. Becker, The Economic Approach to Human Behavior (University of Chicago, Chicago, 1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    M.N. Zald, J.D. McCarthy, The Dynamics of Social Movements: Resource Mobilization, Social Control, and Tactics (Winthrop, Cambridge, 1979)Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    H.R. Kerbo, Movements of crisis and movements of affluence a critique of deprivation and resource mobilization theories. J. Confl. Resolut. 26(4) 645–663 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    M.M. Ferree, in Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, ed. by A.D. Morris, C.M. Mueller (Yale University, Yale, 1992)(2), pp. 29–52.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    D.A. Snow, et al., Frame alignment processes, micromobilization, and movement participation. Am. Sociol. Rev. 51(4) 464–481 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    H. Johnston, E. Larana, J.R. Gusfield, Identities, grievances, and new social movements, in New Social Movements: From Ideology to Identity, vol. 3, (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PA, 1994), pp. 3–35. Available: Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    S. Al-khateeb, N. Agarwal, Developing a conceptual framework for modeling deviant cyber flash mob: A socio-computational approach leveraging hypergraph constructs. J. Digit. Forensic Secur. Law 9(2), 113–128 (2014)Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    A. Cheng, M. Evans, Inside Twitter an In-Depth Look at the 5% of Most Active Users. Available:
  63. 63.
    Types of Bots: An Overview of Chatbot Diversity | Available:
  64. 64.
    R.A. Rodríguez-Gómez, G. Maciá-Fernández, P. García-Teodoro, Survey and taxonomy of botnet research through life-cycle. ACM Comput. Surv. 45(4), 45. Available:
  65. 65.
    A. Karasaridis, B. Rexroad, D. Hoeflin, Wide-scale botnet detection and characterization, in Proceedings of the First Conference on First Workshop on Hot Topics in Understanding Botnets, Cambridge MA, vol. 7. . Available:
  66. 66.
    S. Bono, D. Caselden, G. Landau, C. Miller, Reducing the attack surface in massively multiplayer online role-playing games. IEEE Secur. Priv. 7(3) (2009)Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    N. Abokhodair, D. Yoo, D.W. McDonald, Dissecting a social botnet: Growth, content and influence in twitter, in Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (ACM, New York, 2015), pp. 839–851. Available: Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    P. Kulp, Facebook Admits to Nearly as Many Fake or Clone Accounts as the U.S. Population 2017. Available:
  69. 69.
    M. Newberg, Nearly 48 Million Twitter Accounts Could be Bots, Says Study (Mar. 2017). Available:
  70. 70.
    Y. Boshmaf, I. Muslukhov, K. Beznosov, M. Ripeanu, Key challenges in defending against malicious socialbots, in Proceedings of the 5th USENIX Conference on Large-Scale Exploits and Emergent Threats (USENIX Association, Berkeley, 2012), pp. 12–12. Available: Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    A. Melucci, Nomads of the Present: Social Movements and Individual Needs in Contemporary Society (Temple University, Philadelphia, 1989) p. 02740Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    L. Maheu, Social Movements and Social Classes: The Future of Collective Action. SAGE Studies in International Sociology, vol. 46 (SAGE Publications Ltd, London, 1995), p. 00620. Available: Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    L. Tang, H. Liu, Toward predicting collective behavior via social dimension extraction. IEEE Intell. Syst. 25(4), 19–25 (2010). Available: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    T. Shafie, D. Schoch, J. Mans, C. Hofman, U. Brandes, Hypergraph representations: a study of Carib attacks on colonial forces, 1509–1700. J. Hist. Netw. Res. 1(1), 52–70 (2017)Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    P. Bonacich, A. Cody Holdren, M. Johnston, Hyper-edges and multidimensional centrality. Soc. Netw. 26(3), 189–203 (2004). Available: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    E. Estrada, J.A. Rodriguez-Velazquez, Subgraph centrality and clustering in complex hyper-networks. Physica A Stat. Mech. Appl. 364, 581–594 (2006)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    P. Bonacich, et al., Hyper-edges and multidimensional centrality. Soc. Netw. 26(3), 189–203 (2004)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    T. Sandler, Collective Action: Theory and Applications (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1992)Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    N.W. Biggart, Readings in Economic Sociology, vol. 4 (Blackwell, Chichester, 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    N.B. Ellison, C. Steinfield, C. Lampe, The benefits of Facebook “friends:” social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. J. Comput. Mediat. Commun. 12(4), 1143–1168. Available:
  81. 81.
    B. Klandermans et al., Identity processes in collective action participation: farmers’ identity and farmers’ protest in the Netherlands and Spain. Polit. Psychol. 23(2), 235–251 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    A. Melucci, Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age (Cambridge University, Cambridge, 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    C. Berge, E. Minieka, Graphs and Hypergraphs, vol. 7 (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1973)Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    P. Ludlow, What is a ‘Hacktivist’?. Available:

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samer Al-khateeb
    • 1
  • Nitin Agarwal
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Journalism, Media & ComputingCreighton UniversityOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Information Science DepartmentUniversity of Arkansas at Little RockLittle RockUSA

Personalised recommendations