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Facebook and Twitter related criminal complaints up 780% in four years

The number of criminal allegations made to the police for the misuse of Facebook and Twitter has increased from 556 in 2008 to 4,908 in 2012.  Commenting on the statistics, Andy Trotter of the Association of Chief Police Officers acknowledged that the figures demonstrated a new challenge for the police.  It was recognised that offences involving social media, such as harassment or genuine threats of violence could cause real harm.  However, Mr Trotter also stressed that it was important that criminal allegations were properly prioritised and freedom of expression was not curbed: "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 judgement."

According to statistics obtained from police forces, 653 people were charged with allegations relating to the use of social media last year, compared to 46 in 2008.
source:  The Guardian


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