Suffolk: Crimes linked to Facebook and Twitter rise by more than 600%

A teenager has been charged following a stabbing incident.

A teenager has been charged following a stabbing incident. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

COMPLAINTS to police about alleged crimes linked to Facebook or Twitter soared by more than 600% in the last four years in Suffolk, new figures show.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request showed a total of 500 alleged incidents involving Facebook (494) or Twitter (six) were reported to police between 2009 and 2012. It climbed from 28 in 2009 to 218 in 2012 – a rise of 679%.

They included allegations of sexual offences, fraud and forgery, and public order and harassment.

A Facebook spokesman said: “Just like mobile phones and TV’s, Facebook is part of our everyday lives.

“Facebook’s Community Standards, supported by reporting tools on almost every page of the site, mean such conduct is swiftly dealt with.

“People on Facebook act as the world’s largest neighbourhood watch and are very active in keeping the site safe.

“When matters of serious criminality are found on Facebook, then we work with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.

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“It’s worth remembering that this FOI shows when social networking has been mentioned in a report. It is not an indication that in every instance social networks were the cause or carrier of the crime.”

A Twitter spokesman said: “Twitter adheres to the laws of the countries in which it operates. We also have clear rules and terms of service, which outline what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable on the platform.”

Meanwhile, research by a youth charity revealed a third of young people aged between 14 and 18 have been the victims of online abuse in the past six months nationally.

The research, carried out by youth volunteering charity vInspired, showed more than a quarter (27%) of those questioned said they are the subject of regular attacks, with the majority of the messages being criticism of the victim’s appearance (40%) or about their religion or race (16%).

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “Complaints to police about alleged crimes linked to the use of Facebook and Twitter have increased along with the sites’ popularity.”

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