Recent BBC News article: social media crime reports are a “a real problem”

An article by Keith Moore from BBC News on Tuesday 24th June brings to light just how much the new digital age has changed all means of communication, including how we chose to insult each other (yes, really). The article states that now, “complaints originating from social media make up at least half of calls passed on to front-line officers,” a figure that suggests a critical issue.

The officer interviewed in the article suggested that perhaps people are mis-using the police service for this kind of behaviour, and should simply block/cut off communication to avoid a problem, but this does not avoid the fact that individuals are deeming it ‘okay’ to post things online about others in this way. Albeit some of these offences will be serious and some minor, as with all cases, but it is important this new form of crime is taken seriously. The police force is currently training 6,000 officers to help deal with the situation.

Comments

One of the highest rated commentors exclaims: “The trouble is the police are in danger of becoming the thought police. Most of what is said on social media is harmless. The problem is people are far too sensitive these days about the spoken word and want to censor everything they don’t like to hear or read.” Many others are commenting similar ideas. This again, like many of our other blogs, suggests that social media proposes a real regulatory dilemma, and one that is problematic to say the least. Social media allows us to obtain and keep a ‘hard copy’ of abuse and threats unlike in the ‘real world,’ where in older times we would forget about small hurls of abuse and move on, it seems our generation has failed to see this connection. However, if half of police calls are due to some kind of online, social media connection, it is important at least the problem is being targeted, and training officers to deal with cases and decide which require further investigation is a step in the right direction. It is crazy to think we are now debating the need for “policing of the virtual world.”

Our digital world is perhaps a daunting place for individuals who chose to isolate themselves from it. The ability to post threats and abuse easily and carelessly is problematic, and it can be assumed that in a real life setting this kind of abuse would simply not take place. Even so, times have changed, and the traditional crimes of threatening, abusive behaviour and harassment are present, as they always have been; and most crimes now, and in the future, will include some form of online element, much like anything does these days. Whatever happened to the good old days of venting anger (threats, abuse whatever you want) to a good old-fashioned diary eh?

If you would like to read the full article discussed, you can do so here.

Alternatively, if you would like to chat about any of our social media services and how we can manage your social media the right way, contact us here (don’t worry, we aren’t planning on sending any abuse)

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