Social Media and Laws

1042 words | 4 page(s)

In his article, Stuart (137) argues that social media sites have experienced rapid growth. In fact, many social media platforms have touched lives of countless people around the globe. Among these persons are the law enforcement officers (Stuart 137). Using examples, such as Facebook and Twitter, he points out that the law enforcement department faces certain risks and advantages due to growth trends regarding social media. As a result of this rapid growth of information sharing in the social media, the law enforcement department has to come up with creative and strategic ways to fight the risks. He defines media as the ways of conveying information with the sole intention of influencing the audience. Although most of what Stuart writes about social media and law enforcement is true, it is not true that a significant number of law enforcement officers is aware of the benefits of social media platforms in fighting crimes.

The article holds that the law enforcement officers can use the social media to accomplish various tasks. If one analyzes crime, the social media can provide so many information sources for investigations. Criminals are on various social media sites, and they are most likely to share personal information among themselves (Stuart 137). These would help the law enforcement officials to track and locate them. The vital information that they are likely to share is related to their locations, their associates, and probably the various criminal activities that they have been conducting. These are very useful information in fugitive apprehension. Law enforcement officials must understand the margin between their social lives and work. It would be unprofessional for various officers to post information about their whereabouts constantly when they are in their lines of duty. The information is likely to fall into wrong hands. In other cases, one might find an officer posing for a photo with apprehended drugs and posting them on social media even before the case has been heard in court (Stuart 138). This is termed as tampering with evidence, and though the officers caught with such kind of misconduct would be prosecuted, they would have embarrassed their departments of enforcing the law. From another viewpoint, it would be impossible for law enforcement officers to refrain from the social media platforms. This should, therefore, lead the department to coming up with ways in which it can to keep the balance between personal lives and social media (Stuart 137). To increase the benefits of the social media, the administrators in the law enforcement agencies must set up ways that would be used in controlling social media use by all officers. Setting up the criteria for the social media usage could be one of the best ways to accomplish this, and educating personnel on the particular policies.

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In this article, the author has offered various ways in which the law enforcement department can benefit from the social media. Having the law department using the social media in the solving of various cases could be a wise move. This, however, has its own drawbacks. If the so pronounced criminals realize that the law department would use such ways to acquire information about them, they are more likely to come up with ways in which the department of law will be unable to get hold of them. They would do this by, probably, setting up accounts that are not real. They would manage those accounts, and they would also post their daily life information. These would be, in turn, used as a way to confuse those who might choose various media platforms to track them. It would be a very misleading move for the law enforcers since they might be forced to drop a case involving a criminal (Stuart 139). Another drawback that the social media have experienced is when the officers post images of suspects linked with a certain crime on the social media. This may, in one way or another, alert the offenders that officers are trying to catch up with them, and it is on the higher scale going to lead in the hiding of the offenders. The officers may have been trying to social media sites for their good, but it might end up ruining their case (Stuart 140).

In my opinion, the social media should be applied by the law enforcement officers to fight crime. Though this approach has its drawbacks, it can also result in a very helpful move of fighting crimes. In high schools, colleges, and universities, the authorities can be able to know the criminal activities that take place. It would so happen if they provide students with a common platform on which they can have easy access to police departments to assist easily with any information necessary for solving an ongoing investigation of a case. To further support the use of the social media by the law enforcement agencies, there was a post by the state police investigators in 2011. They posted a photo that had a tattoo, a facial composite, and jewelry that were related to a body that was not known. They claimed that it was found around ten years earlier. By the use of this post by the investigators, it was possible to identify the deceased (Stuart 139). Thus, it can be stated that the social media platforms are excellent sites on which people meet and interact on a daily basis. In addition, the law enforcement officers would apply them to track the actions and movements of many criminals.

Although most of what Stuart writes about social media and law enforcement is true, it is not true that a significant number of law enforcement officers is aware of the benefits of social media platforms in fighting crimes. Social media, having experienced rapid growth in the last decade, can be very helpful platforms for the law enforcement departments. It is a platform that if well utilized can be used to fight crime very successively. On the hand other, if social media platforms are not used by law enforcement agencies, they may lead to more crimes in society. It would be recommended that heads of the law enforcement departments should educate their juniors regarding the applications of the social media to reduce levels of crime across the world.

  • Stuart, Robert. “Social Media: Establishing Criteria for Law Enforcement Use.” Viitattu 5.7 (2013): 2013: 137-140.

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