There was no official Facebook police in the past, other that what was designated by Facebook themselves, and a few social vigilantes reporting here and there the misbehaviors. There were also the “unofficial” eyes, scrutinizing what’s been said and done – after all, there are enough reports about people arrested for what they said on Facebook already. But there was no official police social media unit. Until now.
As reported on NY Daily News, the New York Police Department has formed a Facebook, MySpace and Twitter unit to track down and monitor criminals and criminal behavior on social media sites. In charge of this social media unit will be Assistant Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, who already has a wealth of experience online. The new unit will operate under the Community Affairs Bureau.
According to the report, the unit will mine social media for information on potentially troublesome house parties, gang meetings, and so on. There is no information, however, on the methods employed to gather this information. It could be a social media monitoring tool, or any number of specific tools, as each may deliver different results. Whatever they are using, it’s already working. Calvin Pietri and Kayla Henriques were recently caught by NYPD after bragging about their own crimes on Facebook.
Here is an opportunity for social media monitoring software developers to design something exclusively for the police – assuming that the NYPD will not be the only department with such specialized tasks. For sure, there will be other police sections across the country opening special units.
Here is also an opportunity for PR companies to offer such monitoring services to other police forces less experienced with the Internet. Last but not least, there will be new jobs: police social monitoring expert. How’s that for a change?