belfasttelegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Facebook 'linked to one crime every 40 minutes'

There have been calls to shut down Facebook after the social networking site was linked to one crime every 40 minutes last year.

The worldwide phenomenon was referenced 12,300 times in investigations in England and Wales from witness intimidation and fraud to rape, child sex offences and murder.

Most involved alleged cyber-bullying. Paedophiles have used it to groom children, while arguments on Facebook have led to 'real world' violence. One pervert induced a 13-year-old boy to send pictures of himself. Another used it to attempt to groom a 14-year-old boy.

Jean Taylor, of Families Fighting for Justice told the Daily Mail: "Facebook has an awful lot to answer for. It causes more harm than good. It's far too easy for paedophiles to put a photograph of themselves up on the site and meet young people. Facebook should be closed down."

But a senior detective told the newspaper: "Just like a knife or a car, there is nothing intrinsically dangerous or criminal about Facebook, but just like both of those things it needs to be treated with respect because of the dangers that can be associated with its use.

However, it has to be accepted that Facebook has made the commissioning of some crimes, such as sexual grooming, much easier than they were in the past."

A Facebook spokesman said it worked with police to bring offenders to police and that there were reporting tools on almost every page of the site.

He claimed: "Facebook users act as the world's largest neighbourhood watch and are very active in keeping the site safe."

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