A moral panic is the intensity of feeling expressed in a group of people about an issue that appears to threaten the social order.
"According to Stanley Cohan, author of Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972), a moral panic occurs when condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests."
The strength of moral panic is in its numbers. A large group can make more noise and elicit change better than a small group of people. The weakness in moral panic is that many times the truth is not understood by the group. This can cause threats, retaliation, and violence when none is needed.