Communicative Constitution of Illicit Online Trade Collectives: An Exploration of Darkweb Market Subreddits

K. Hazel Kwon, Chun Shao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aims to understand communicative activities of an illicit cyber-trade community on an anonymous social platform, Reddit. Based on the communication-as-constitutive of organization (CCO) perspective, the study identifies participants with different levels of engagement, and examines how their discursive engagement collectively reflects the ways in which illicit market users co-orient themselves to respond to a crisis event (i.e., market shutdown). The empirical case for this study is a subreddit channel dedicated to what was once the largest dark web market: r/AlphabayMarket. We examine two month period's posting activities until market was permanently shut down in July 2017. Our analysis comprises three parts. First, a social network analysis was conducted to identify key and non-key players in the community. Second, a structural topic modeling was computed to inductively infer topic clusters. Third, posts were manually reviewed to articulate the process of co-orientation manifest in the results of topic modeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication11th International Conference on Social Media and Society
Subtitle of host publicationDiverse Voices - Promises and Perils of Social Media for Diversity, SMSociety 2020
EditorsAnatoliy Gruzd, Philip Mai, Raquel Recuero, Angel Hernandez-Garcia, Chei Sian Lee, James Cook, Jaigris Hodson, Bree McEwan, Jill Hopke
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages65-72
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450376884
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 22 2020
Event11th International Conference on Social Media and Society: Diverse Voices - Promises and Perils of Social Media for Diversity, SMSociety 2020 - Virtual, Online, Canada
Duration: Jul 22 2020Jul 24 2020

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Conference

Conference11th International Conference on Social Media and Society: Diverse Voices - Promises and Perils of Social Media for Diversity, SMSociety 2020
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityVirtual, Online
Period7/22/207/24/20

Keywords

  • Dark web
  • Reddit
  • communicative constitution of organization
  • cryptomarket
  • cyber markets
  • cybercrime
  • illicit online communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software

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