Whilst Facebook has quickly become one of the largest online communities in the world, it is not only its socializing capabilities that are of use. It is becoming more and more prevalent that the law enforcement agencies are using it for catching and prosecuting criminals. Those criminals who are not aware that their actions are traceable on Facebook make foolish statements and post incriminating evidence on the popular social networking platform which makes it easy for a law enforcement agency to make an arrest or charge, and even use any comments or photographs posted to the site as evidence in court.
Arrests made in conjunction with alcohol laws
There have been hundreds of cases of teenager’s drinking alcohol at parties. If they post photos of their evening to their Facebook account, it is easy for anyone who has access to view that account to make a complaint about the incident. This has been commonplace in many US colleges and universities. Underage drinking arrests have been made as a result, and the teenagers involved and any adults who have been involved have received penalties as a result of their actions. The local authorities have used the photographic evidence to snare the individual and have used the photos in court to strengthen the accusations.
Slanderous, defamatory and racial abuse
There have been many cases of Facebook users making comments on Facebook which have been offensive in nature. It is an offense to make racial comments against individuals. There have been times where users have reported others for making such statements, and arrests have been made as a result. Students have lost their places at colleges and universities as a direct result of allegations made against them.
For escaped convicted criminals, Facebook can be a means of staying connected with their friends whilst on the run. This is a dangerous game, as the authorities can track the criminals by viewing the IP address of the computer or device that they are posting messages with. There have been many people who have been accused of a crime, but have had all allegations dropped due to insufficient evidence. The law enforcement agencies have been known to access user’s accounts to see if they have been planning further criminal activity, or if they make a confession to another Facebook user.
For criminals who use Facebook to discuss or share evidence of their criminal activity and conquests, their days are numbered. With the law enforcement agencies developing new and more effective tracking methods with the assistance and cooperation of the staff at Facebook, there is no escape from the law.