Social media has made leaps and bounds in terms of connecting people and expressing personal views. In recent years, businesses have started taking advantage of social networking sites to promote their products and services and engage with their customers. Amid these positive developments, however, there’s a growing concern on how social media is being used today by people with criminal intents to broadcast their illicit and heinous acts.
Social networking sites have become people’s go-to place for the latest news. As such, users of Facebook for example are now barraged with all kinds of news notably on politics and crimes on their news feed once they log into their accounts. There’s a good side to this, according to the experts as law enforcement authorities and justice agencies are now able to solve crimes. But on the other hand, there’s also a bad side to this as social media has been accused of risking the lives of people particularly the young users.
Various crimes have already been committed using Facebook and Twitter. In fact, a new kind of crime known as revenge porn has come out owing to social media. Then there are the so-called performance crimes involving offenders who brag about their criminal behavior or acts to friends and followers. And add into the equation the usual old crimes committed online such as harassment, fraud and identity theft.
Crimes Documented on Social Media
In the past year, law enforcement authorities have noted many crimes including rape and murder that used social media. Some were broadcast live while the others were shared after the crime was committed with the offender sharing the evidence of his acts online. One incident took place in 2014 in Hartlepool involving two teenagers who beat to death a 39-year-old woman. The two youngsters shared selfies via Snapchat showing their bruised body and also documented their ride while inside a police van.
Another heinous crime occurred in 2013 in Steubenville, Ohio. It was a gang rape during which photos, written descriptions and videos were posted on social media sites including YouTube.
These crimes have been alarming and have caused parents to be more concerned. If you know of loved ones or friends who have become victims, you can help them seek justice by reporting the incident to law enforcement authorities and by recommending a good criminal lawyer who can assist them and protect their rights.
Reasons Behind the Criminal Behavior
Young people were found to be involved in the above-mentioned crimes documented on social media. What prompted them to do the acts and why do they want to do it on social networking platforms? And if you become a victim, what can you do about it?
Reports have it that while criminals normally get caught through their own confessions, it’s a different story for young people. They tend to report their illegal acts on social media simply for the sake of sharing them. For them, they get a feeling of satisfaction or fulfillment when their public posts get plenty of likes, a form of approval for their acts that feed their ego. They feel rewarded when they have an audience who can witness their crimes. And with mobile technology notably the smartphones readily available to people these days, it’s fast and easy for criminals to upload to social media all the photos and videos of their acts.
Social media has allowed people to show off their personal activities and these young criminals have taken advantage of this. The live streaming feature such as on Facebook and Periscope has become their favorite tool in broadcasting their unlawful acts.
The question now is can social networking sites put a stop to this? There were already efforts made to ensure the safety of users through the use of advanced encryption technology and the removal of posts including text, photos and videos uploaded by offenders. However, it seems they are not enough and more people are still clamoring for the ban of certain features available on social media sites.