Online Life of American Murdered in Italy Spurs Theories About Her Death

My piece on murder in the age of social media has just been published by Time.

The aftermath of Ashley Olsen’s death is an example of how, in the age of social media, the private can suddenly turn very public.

The 35-year-old American woman’s body was discovered on Saturday, after her boyfriend persuaded her landlady to let him into her apartment in central Florence, Italy. By the next day, after the Italian press had broken the story, strangers had taken to Olsen’s Instagram page not just to post their condolences but also to search for clues and post theories about how she was killed.

“I never knew her but she looked like a sweet and beautiful person!!” wrote one commenter, while others engaged in extended back-and-forths on who might be responsible for her death: “This is the act of an enraged obsessed boyfriend who was just broken up with! Case solved!”

Read the rest.

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