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article imageDramatic increase in crime on social media sites

By James Walker     May 10, 2015 in Internet
There has been a large surge in the number of reported cases of harassment on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. Police forces have noticed a 20 percent increase in allegations involving these sites with some saying it could be higher.
The Telegraph reports that Britain's Metropolitan Police Force saw a 21 percent increase in the number of reported incidents involving Facebook over a two-year period, leading to a total of 1,207 reported incidents. Meanwhile, incidents on Twitter were up 19 percent in the same year, to 138.
The Telegraph obtained the figures by sending a Freedom of Information request. It says that the force was unable to provide details of the types of crime that made up the numbers but the majority are likely to be threats, trolling, harassment and abuse.
The news comes amid announcements from several major sites online that they are going to take a much stronger stance against those who choose to make the online lives of others a misery. Reddit has promised to eradicate revenge porn from its platform while Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wrote in an internal memo that the site will begin "kicking these people off right and left" as he admitted that his company "sucks" when dealing with abuse.
The figures highlight how powerful a weapon social media can be when used by people who like to dominate others. As well as targeting individuals, these platforms can be vectors to the spread of generally offensive messages.
The Telegraph notes how the hash-tag "Hitler was right" was trending on Twitter during last July. UK Prime Minister David Cameron described the topic as "hugely important" after the publication of the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into anti-Semitism online.
Social media is a great driving force for the world but for an increasing few it is a source of pain and anguish. At least it is encouraging to see the largest sites online finally stepping up to the case and actively beginning to resolve this major ingrained issue.
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