Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Social media-related crime reports up 780% in four years

Police figures show there were 4,908 reports in which Facebook and Twitter were a factor, compared with 556 in 2008.

Complaints to police about alleged crimes linked to the use of Facebook and Twitter have increased by 780% in four years, resulting in about 650 people being charged last year, figures show.

The phenomenon of social networking crime was comparatively minor in 2008 with 556 reports made to police, according to the statistics released by 29 police forces in England, Scotland and Wales under the Freedom of Information Act. This year there were 4,908 reports in which the two sites were a factor.

Chief constable Andy Trotter, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the figures demonstrated a new challenge. It was important that forces prioritised social networking crimes that caused genuine harm, rather than attempting to curb freedom of expression, he said.

"It is a new world for all and we could end up in a situation where each constabulary needs a dedicated Twitter squad. In my opinion, that would not be a good use of resources in difficult financial times. We need to accept that people have the right to communicate, even to communicate in an obnoxious or disagreeable way, and there is no desire on the part of the police to get involved in that judgment.

"But equally, there are many offences involving social media such as harassment or genuine threats of violence which cause real harm. It is that higher end of offending which forces need to concentrate on."

Read More -  http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/dec/27/social-media-crime-facebook-twitter