Felonies on Facebook

Maybe you like to use Facebook to reconnect with friends you haven’t seen since you graduated from high school twenty years ago.  Who needs a reunion in the school gymnasium when you can catch up virtually every day?  Or, perhaps your family is scattered across the country and Facebook is a wonderful way to share photos and life events.  This social media tool also has proven pivotal in political campaigns, protest movements, and issue awareness.  Now, members of law enforcement are increasingly finding that Facebook can help in their efforts as well.

Police officers are turning to Facebook to find evidence of criminal activity.  It’s amazing that some criminals cannot help but brag to their online friends about murder, theft, or violent gang activity.  And, if just one of these friends is willing to share his Facebook page with authorities, prosecutors now have evidence that can be used in court.  The law currently sees the receipt of this information as being no different than someone walking into a precinct and sharing what he overheard last night while sitting around at a friend’s apartment.  When there are no available friends to allow access to a suspect’s Facebook activity, police officers overwhelmingly affirm that they have no ethical issue with creating a fake profile in to “friend” a suspect.

In a recent survey conducted by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, four out of five officials share that they use social media in their work to track down criminals and build evidence against them.  Some are now even being trained formally in the in and outs of social media in order to make the most of their searching efforts.

This investigative approach is not without its share of critics.  Should members of law enforcement be allowed to create fake identities in order to track a suspect, much like undercover operations that have been taking place for decades?  In what instances, at what level of credible threat, should police officers be allowed to force social media giants like Facebook and Twitter to hand over information about one of their users?

What are your thoughts on the role that social media plays in bringing criminals to justice?

***

In DEAD GAME, Emily Stone and cops try to track a serial killer through technology.  But, what they don’t know is that the killer is tracking them.  Are you game?

Some Amazon 5-star reviews:

“The tension, twists and turns in Dead Game are perfect! This thriller was truly a “read through in one sitting” for me and I loved everything that Jennifer Chase put into this, her second novel. I’ve just added Jennifer Chase to my list of must-read authors!”

“Any mystery fan will enjoy this follow-up to Compulsion. Highly recommended.”

“The plot is outstanding! A serial killer who escalates leaving “crumbs” of evidence behind and Jennifer gives us a glimpse into the life of each victim before… well you know, they become a victim!”

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About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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7 Responses to Felonies on Facebook

  1. I have to admit, when I get an e-mail from Crimestoppers in the UK and they have the names & faces of people the police are looking for, I do try a few in facebook LOL

  2. GABixler says:

    Jennifer, as a reviewer who has connected with many, I have had my account hacked in many times…I have also been approached by individuals who I could tell wanted to connect for “other reasons” You know that is true when young men approach a woman my age! LOL And I have also been scammed via email. I love the internet, but let’s face it, criminals are everywhere and using the computer has opened up a new world for those who are willing to steal, scam, and much worse. I would do it in a minute! When I was scammed, I gave total access to get into my computer. If you are doing nothing wrong, there should be no reason not to, don’t you think? The more we help to rid the US of the criminal element, the better we make the world…just my opinion, of course… And, I am sure, you would still have no problem using your creativity and imagination for crime books that keep us interested…LOL

  3. Pingback: Author Jennifer Chase with an interesting article on how Facebook is helping catch crooks… « Thomas Rydder

  4. Reblogged this on EditorEtc and commented:
    This is a tough one. Depends… if you are the “receiver” or the “sender” … can swing both ways in serious criminal offenses.

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