Doing Hard Time the Facebook Way
by swrba1 on April 14, 2014 - 11:37pm
In the article, Policing Social Media by Daniel Trotter from Uppsala University, Trotter goes in detail on how police are now using Facebook and social media as a way to increase their scope on policing. People give up personal details on their profiles which makes it easier for police or anybody to find an individual’s whereabouts and information. Police were able to investigate and arrest suspects from the June 2011 Vancouver riot. Following the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, people went to downtown Vancouver set cars on fire and storefronts were destroyed. The city of Vancouver was outraged of what had occurred at the riot. People went to Facebook and posted photos and video evidence with the goal of someone identifying the rioters. A Facebook group named “Vancouver Riot Pics: Post Your Photos” garnered over 100,000 users, over ﬁve million views, and countless photographs in under ﬁve days. The photographs on that group lead to arrests of the individuals that committed the crime. After the arrests, Vancouver police acknowledged the help of social media throughout the riot. We are beginning to see a trend of people cooperating with people through Facebook. Police don’t need cooperation from users as all they have to do is simply search someone’s name on Facebook’s search bar. Police simply just mimic how users gather information on Facebook. A lot of the information people put on Facebook is not protected by Facebook’s privacy settings making it very easy for police to gather information on individuals. A user’s contact details, photographs, lists of friends, and wall posts are easily accessible information for police. Police are beginning to create fake Facebook accounts and give that fake account a persona. They are befriending people all for an investigational gain. This allows police not only to watch activity involving suspects but being directly involved. Despite being in violation of Facebook’s term of service police are able to get away with this.
On page 7 of the article, it tells us a story about how in Ottawa, a Wayne Gretzky jersey was stolen from a sports apparel store. The owner was able to find the suspects using the store’s fan page on Facebook. The suspect didn’t even belong to the fan page but was identified because a friend of his was a member of the fan page. The suspect was identiﬁed not by his own Facebook but through his friends. You can’t hide from anywhere as long as have you have a Facebook profile. Social media particularly Facebook, has set up channels with police. Police can see someone’s contact information and even read a user’s private messages they engage with others in on Facebook. It is not just police who simply benefit from social media. In 2006, a Quebec woman’s presence on Facebook showed that she was not depressed enough to receive compensation from her insurance company. Posting your political opinion on Facebook or even simply liking a controversial Facebook page can cause police to view or categorize you as a suspect or an aide to a crime. Read more about this article and about the Quebec women below.
Quebec Woman loses compensation- http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/depressed-woman-loses-benefits-over-facebook-photos-1.861843
Policing Social Media by Daniel Trottier- https://www.academia.edu/3727863/Policing_Social_Media