Gang members use social media to organize payback missions or to snuff out snitches. A Washington Post article cited by Gawker and dugg 172 times reports that gangs regularly use Facebook and Twitter to keep tabs on potential turncoats or to figure out if there are undercover agents among them. A recently released LA gang member was just about to be eliminated by his twittering “brothers.” Suspecting that he had cut a deal with the authorities, the gang shared its suspicions on Twitter. Lucikly, the police was also listening in by “following” the gang related thread on Twitter and intervened just in time to prevent the assassination. A Gawker commenter also noted that authorities now customarily jam cellular transmissions from inner city hospital ERs. The decision came in the wake of several payback shootings triggered by photographs of gang victims sent from ERs via mobile phones. The photographs were used to identify the victims’ other associates, who would also be pursued and shot.
These incidents reveal how instantaneous communication, real time monitoring of one’s environment, and easy access to a group of friends and associates–some of the most important characteristics of social media and Web 2.0 technologies–can be used as tools both for and preventing crime. We live a truly confusing time.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Twitter, Facebook Use Rising Among Gang Members (huffingtonpost.com)
- Gangs Use Of Twitter, Facebook On The Rise (huffingtonpost.com)
- Old Media vs. New Media (slideshare.net)
- Local20: Index of local social media/tech startups, companies and activity (local20.co.za)