Thursday, August 11, 2011

Police to Start Monitoring Facebook

Police using FacebookThe rise and relevance of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter never ceases to amaze me. The vast popularity of sites like these is astounding and the way they have begun to shape our world into something revolutionary is mind-boggling. In recent social media news, the NYPD has just opened a social media tracking unit.

This news comes in the wake of some earlier reports that prisons will be cracking down on the profiles of inmates using sites like Facebook and Twitter in order to perpetuate crimes while incarcerated. Facebook will pull profiles of California inmates in order to make any type of use of the site by inmates even more difficult, if not impossible.

These new crime divisions will be headed up by the new Assistant Commissioner Kevin O'Connor and will monitor social media sites for potential wrongdoings. In a post from Policeone.com, "Criminals have been known to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media [sites] to choose targets, boast about crimes or alert one another about the location of police."

While this may seem highly illogical, sites like Facebook and Twitter have led to the capture of multiple criminals, even before a unit was dedicated to monitoring them. After the recent Tottenham riots and looting, a man posed for a twitpic with what he had stolen and was later arrested as a result of the picture. Yes, that actually happened, you can't make up someone who is that idiotic.

Over here in the United States, a man was arrested by the NYPD back in March for murder after bragging about killing a gay teenager at a house party on Facebook. This prompted Kelly to advise officers to monitor house parties advertised on Facebook more closely in order to prevent something like this from happening again.

Online police divisions are not a new invention, however. "To Catch a Predator" was proof enough about how police monitor chat rooms that have the potential to catch people engaging in sexual perversion or potentially unlawful activities. As social media use has grown, police are taking special measures to employ the sites just as criminals do in order to stop potential crimes.

So the next time you decide to do something unlawful, how about you don't plaster it all over one of the biggest social media sites in the world? If you are going to do that, then you might as well just walk into the police station with all the evidence of your crime and your hands already cuffed.

Source: CBS News - NYPD opens Social Media Tracking Unit


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