More Eyes on Crime?: The Rhetoric of Mediated Mugshots
The "Mugshot of the Day" (MotD) program, run by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in Phoenix, AZ, from 2011 to 2016, allowed the public to vote daily on a favorite mugshot which elevated the top photos to the Office’s leaderboard and often resulted in the increased visibility of female arrestees. I argue that by doing this, MCSO used the exigency of entertainment on participatory platforms to temporarily coalesce a group of digital vigilantes into being, in order to weaponise visibility. Making this claim is complicated, however, and requires not only that online mugshot consumers can be viewed as digital vigilantes, but also the belief that entertainment can facilitate this role and that there can be a relationship between the state and digital vigilantism (DV). Overall, this claim and discussion is beneficial because it not only identifies who digital vigilantes can target but it also contributes to evolving definitions of who can, and how one participates, in vigilantism in a digital world.