Social Media and Law Enforcement
After the Boston marathon bombings, social media played a major role on the incident providing true facts and other times not so true.
Media is a means of communication with the intent to influence a wide audience (Stuart, 2013). Social networking, which allows multiple people to share information with one another and it provides the public with reporting power of major or everyday incidents with the push of a button. Law enforcement agencies are well aware of this and have stepped up their efforts of using this means of communications as a crime fighting tool. Social media can be used for public relations, crime prevention, and criminal ...view middle of the document...
It happened in 2007, when this affluent oceanfront city fell into the national spotlight because of a double homicide of a mother and her daughter at an upscale mall. The department turned to one of the only widespread social networking sites at the time, Myspace, to post information and ask for anonymous leads in the case. If we take in consideration the fiscal crisis, the budget cuts, social media is a great tool because most media outlets have made drastic cutbacks that not only affect the way they cover the news but also what they cover. In this case we can observe how social media can be used as a direct link between the public and law enforcement agencies.
Stacy Parks Miller, Centre County, PA District Attorney said in a report by Mallory Lane for wearecentralpa.com that "Social media, or any kind of statements made on a phone, on a computer, are fair game for law enforcement,” and "They're absolutely usable and we use them." The amount of cases being solved in court by evidence found in social media keeps growing and courts are listening. In contrast, social media can also create some problems since it is online and jurors are exposed and can create impartiality thus affecting the verdict.
According to Miller(2012), Casey Anthony’s defense team used social media to monitor public opinion and assess reactions to the actual trial (which was available online through streaming video). The case was a hotbed of public opinion, armchair jurors and heated discussions among complete strangers, and people were generally quick to voice an opinion online. And a candid one at that. By observing social media outlets, the Casey Anthony defense team created a cost-effective (albeit somewhat skewed) shadow jury.
Control of information
There could be problems when it comes to how and when law enforcement can use social media outlets whether by relying on false or malicious information to solve crimes or by officers of the law on their personal accounts post information that can affect investigations or bring discredit to their departments....