The Criminal Aspect of Social Media

1360 Words5 Pages
When the term social media is used, both law enforcement and the general public most often think of the ability to either connect publically or share content through internet based social networking sites such as: Facebook; Twitter; YouTube or Instagram. Facebook alone has over 1.3 billion users who post more than 350 million photos and 20 million videos a day to their accounts. YouTube has over 800 million users that upload 65 hours of video every minute of every day. Twitter has over 645 million users who generate one billion tweets every five days. Social media is now an essential communication method in today’s society. While this initial thought is correct, criminals have also adopted this medium and often use it to communicate and to further their illegal activities. As such, law enforcement needs to look at the various internet applications of social media as an open source information platform in which criminal intelligence can be gathered 24 hours a day. Failure to do so means key pieces of an investigative puzzle may be overlooked. Open source information, when combined with existing police data, allows a more complete picture of offenders and crime patterns to develop. It serves to confirm what investigators already suspect or can point an investigation into a totally different direction. The Cincinnati Police Department (CPD), along with our academic partners at the University of Cincinnati Institute of Crime Science (ICS), first started to look at the
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