Justice Online: TikTok, Platform Properties and the Fight for Familial Conviction
This article explores video sharing application TikTok and its use in the quest for judicature concerning missing person Alissa Turney as conducted by sister Sarah Turney. The article explores the platform’s impact upon the structure, delivery, and content of non-fictional crime-centred social network media, as creators reframe appeals for action into short-form entertainment. This shift towards self-produced social media-based content is seen as both freeing and limiting in how it allows messages to be structured and narrativized, as Turney must work within the conventions, trends, and affordances of the medium to allow her content to garner maximum viewer retention and engagement. Turney utilises an unconventional approach towards death and grieving to adapt justice efforts towards an individualised and communal endeavour, implementing online calls to action aimed at viewers, inviting and rewarding them for promoting and engaging with her content. While much of death studies focuses on the grieving process made possible through the affordances offered by social media, this article will show how Turney uses new media to create videos and interact with viewers in order to bring attention to and affect real change for Alissa’s case.
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