Are Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and other social platforms to blame for the rise in mass shootings?


Coverage of the shooting progressed with the creation of the #NeverAgain movement and the March For Our Lives demonstration. With this movement and demonstration, students aimed to end gun violence and organized a march in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2018. All major news organizations reported on the march throughout the day and even celebrities such as Oprah, Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Swift showed their support through social media and monetary donations (Amatulli, 2018).

The extensive media coverage of the Parkland shooting represented a more-developed media era. Much of the coverage surrounding this shooting took place in digital space, with postings on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram. The natural reaction of students to immediately take phones out and post on social media demonstrated just how much of a role the digital space had in the coverage of this crisis situation in 2018. Unlike the media coverage from Columbine and Virginia Tech, the media coverage of Parkland sparked a global conversation and nationally recognized campaigns. This may be attributed to the social media era and its impact as a communication channel.

Mother Jones Archive

It is evident just how much of an effect the evolution of digital platforms and social media has had on how news of these shootings is disseminated. It is also key to analyze how these findings relate to contagion by looking at the frequency of incidents throughout the media eras. As stated within the methodology, the year of 2011 may be used as a benchmark, due to the surge of social media milestones that year. The mass shooting archive analyzed in this study was provided by Harvard researchers through Mother Jones (Cohen, Azrael, & Miller, 2014). The data provides specific information, including an entire record of mass shootings from 1982 to 2018. The archive also provides information on the location of shootings, what year shootings took place, a brief summary of incidents, a count of fatalities and injuries, and other details on weapons used and mental health involvement.