Use of Social Media for Policing

Use of Social Media for Policing

Amir Manzoor
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8598-7.ch013
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An overwhelming amount of information (and misinformation) is available on today's social media sites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube). Law enforcement agencies actively seek to leverage these resources to improve services and communication with public. Various factors have forced law enforcement agencies to have an active voice on social media. This chapter examines the growing interest of police forces in the use of social media to engage groups previously uninvolved in discussion of community policing and for deliberation about priorities of police forces. The chapter concludes that police forces, in general, have been able to exploit the networked characteristics of social media and the potential of user-generated content. Recommendations are provided to achieve more ambitious aims for using social media for policing.
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1. Introduction

Social media is a complex concept that generally refers to a broad range of non-traditional forms of electronic communication including blogs and micro blogs, discussion forums, media sharing websites, social networks, social news, social bookmarking, and Wikis (Varano & Sarasin, 2014). One common feature of all these is that they are all consumers of content. In contrast to traditional media (such as TV), a user of social media can be both a consumer and a producer of user-generated content and timely news.

One definition of social media is that “it is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) divided social media into six types (see Table 1).

Table 1.
Social Media Types
Type of Social MediaDescriptionExample
Collaborative ProjectsAllow for the joint and simultaneous creation of content by end-users.Wikipedia
Blogs and Micro-BlogsWebsites that provide date stamped content entries in reverse chronological orderTwitter
Content CommunitiesSites that provide their users a platform to share media contentYouTube
Social Networking SitesSites that provides their users ability to connect by creating profiles, sending emails and instant messages to other usersFacebook
Virtual Game WorldsPlatforms that represent a 3-D environment whereby users can create and appear in the form of personalized avatars and interact with each other.World of Warcraft
Virtual Social WorldsSites similar to virtual game worlds. One difference is that there exist no restrictions on the possible number of interactions that users can have with other.Second Life Application

Key Terms in this Chapter

Passive Intelligence: Passive intelligence refers to evaluating available information for law enforcement purposes.

Social media: Social media is a collection of online communication channels that allow people to create and share information, ideas, and images with others.

Viral: It refers to popular Online content that quickly spreads through social media networks.

Phishing: Phishing is a type of e-mail fraud in which a perpetrator attempts to acquire sensitive information (such as bank financial pin) for malicious reasons.

Internal Intelligence: Internal intelligence refers to the activities conducted within the country that threatens internal security.

Malware: Malware is short form of Malicious Software and refers to the software specifically designed to damage computer systems.

Community Policing: Community policing is a philosophy that blend traditional and non-traditional aspects of law enforcement to promote partnerships and problem-solving in order address conditions that give rise to public safety issues.

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