Gabby Petito: True-Crime Rubbernecking on Social Media


A true-crime case unleashes speculation and opportunism on TikTok. KEY POINTS When Influencer Gabby Petito disappeared, social media embraced the case, generating millions of views. Information takes on meaning of its own as it travels, attracting opportunists using hashtags as clickbait. There is real danger in true crime speculation that activates our survival instincts, but the appeal goes deeper than rubbernecking. The wealth of social media content on Petito generated empathy, identification, and parasocial connections, creating emotional investment. True crime is appealing.  Call it morbid curiosity, but we can't look away.  True crime speculation about the attractive young Influencer [...]