Hashtag Abuse in Publicized Murder Trials
It's a Hashtag, What's the Big Deal?
It's 2014: Everyone and their mother knows the definition of a #selfie. And if you haven't seen Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake's #hashtag parody, you're probably not from the planet Earth.
Let's face it, hashtags are fun. Celebrities use them on social media, business owners use them to target consumers, and people like you and I use them to summarize our ideas without breaking Twitter's 140-character limit.
But not everyone uses hashtags so innocently.
The first time I witnessed the ugliness of hashtag abuse, I was on the phone with a friend. I saw the hashtag "#barrelbaby" in the right-hand corner of my television screen. The television was muted, but I watched Nancy Grace bob her head up and down furiously, while my eyes kept drifting toward the glowing hastag "#barrelbaby," several inches from Grace's chin.
"What the heck is a barrel baby?" I thought to myself. I ended the conversation with my friend and unmuted the television.
Nancy Grace discussed the details of a mother, identified as Veronica Herrera, who burned the remains of her 2-year-old daughter, Nakita Herrera, in a barrel behind the family’s home.
I immediately got sick to my stomach.
HLN: Nancy Grace
Exploitation for Ratings
Not only did the story horrify me, but Nancy Grace, who insists she's an advocate for victims rights, referred to this deceased child as "barrel baby." For what? For what purpose could you possibly exploit a child who died at the hands of her mother?
For ratings and more followers via social media.
It's one thing to use hashtags to bring attention to ugly things our society, but when you use hashtags to exploit the victims of crimes--especially children--it's completely disgusting.
History of Exploiting Victims
Unfortunately, "barrel baby" was not the first or last 'witty' hashtag used by the 'clever' team at HLN.
Here is a list of 5 abusive hashtags (and there are many more where this came from!) used by Nancy Grace, the 'advocate' for victim's rights: