The problem with using Facebook to fight crime

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In 2012, Brooklyn police officer Michael Rodrigues arrested a burglary gang, the Brower Boys, by adding gang members as friends on Facebook. The day of the arrest was like gathering the lowest-hanging fruit. “It’s break-in day on the avenue,” one gang member posted in his status message. Officer Rodrigues and colleagues tracked the gang members to the avenue in question. They photographed the young men committing the crime, and then arrested them.

For the past several years, police and prosecutors across the country have been quietly using social media to track criminal networks. Their methods have become more sophisticated: by combining social media APIs, databases, and network analysis tools, police can keep tabs on gang activity. In New York’s Harlem neighborhood, at-risk teens are identified as members of gangs based on their affiliations and are monitored on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Read more…

More about Facebook, Social Networking Profiles, Police, Social Media, and Us

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