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Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2023, 6(17); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2023.061725.

Legal boundaries and ethical dilemmas of online reward-based reporting of information


Xiaoxuan Li

Corresponding Author:
Xiaoxuan Li

Law School, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100091, China


The behavior of online reward-based reporting of information refers to the public and private entities, other than the public security organs that lawfully issue rewards, publicly publishing civil reward advertisements through the internet. It encourages the general public to provide information related to specific individuals' misconduct, violations, infractions, illegal activities, and crimes, with the main content of the information being valid clues or evidence that can hold the corresponding responsibilities accountable. The purpose is to expose various improper words and actions of the specific target, leading to corresponding disciplinary and moral condemnations. Currently, there are no specific legal provisions prohibiting this behavior. However, this behavior can be essentially characterized as "online vigilante justice." While it has the positive effect of encouraging public participation in solving social problems, assisting relevant authorities in combating corruption and evil, and promoting the maintenance of public order, it is prone to fall into the ethical fallacy trap. It may condone and encourage malicious tracking, harassment, envy, slander, personal vendettas, or social exclusion, thereby facilitating attacking behaviors. Furthermore, due to its inherent "public shaming" and "informant" culture, it can lead to a tense and terrifying social atmosphere on a macro level, seriously infringing upon individuals' personal rights and interests. It is necessary to pay attention to striking a balance between ethical frameworks and legal regulations, promptly establish relevant norms, fill in legal gaps, and remain vigilant against the fusion of such behavior with illicit practices such as sensationalism and manipulation.


online rewards; reporting information; online manhunts; public supervision; infringement of citizens' personal rights

Cite This Paper

Xiaoxuan Li. Legal boundaries and ethical dilemmas of online reward-based reporting of information. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2023) Vol. 6, Issue 17: 144-152. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2023.061725.


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