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High-profile stories over the last couple of years have raised the profile of these crimes—stories like that of Caroline Criado-Perez, a blogger and cofounder of the Women’s Room website who led a campaign to put a woman on the back of the British bank note—and consequently received a deluge of death and rape threats.

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Coordinated harassment carried out by a cybermob is difficult to prosecute because individual actions may not themselves qualify, at least legally, as harassment, even though the group’s actions together have that effect.Nonconsensual pornography has also yet to be criminalized in 34 states.So why is so little still being done about such a widespread problem?Arguing with someone online, which is what many aggressors maintain they are doing, is not illegal. Harassment, stalking, threatening someone with violence, calling for others to physically harm someone—what many aggressors are actually doing—is illegal.Some states’ harassment laws, for instance, only cover threats sent directly to the target.

Tweeting someone’s nude photo at her boss is harassment, but because it’s not directed to the target specifically, it often doesn’t fall under the legal definition.

On June 1, the Supreme Court voided that conviction, explaining that the standard the court had used to judge whether Elonis's threats were "true threats" was not sufficient.

The district court had asked jurors to consider only whether the threats would cause a reasonable person to be afraid.

"Frankly, police at the local level have a very hard time figuring out how to investigate it," Citron says.

"And they don’t want to say they don’t know." What can be done about it: The House of Representatives recently called on the Department of Justice to better enforce laws against severe online threats.

In 2010, Anthony Elonis threatened his estranged wife by writing rants on his Facebook page such as, "There's one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you.