Police in Queensland, Australia had over 5,000 cases last year that, in some way, involved Facebook. That is a 50 percent increase from the previous year, and it points to a growing link between the social media site and real life crimes. Much has been written about how Facebook is being used by law enforcement officials to track down criminals, but the opposite can also be true: crimes can be just as easily committed because of the site.
The statistics of serious Facebook-related crimes are shocking: according to the Courier Mail, the site was referenced in police documents relating to 19 murders, 12 attempted murders, 728 assaults, 542 sexual offences and 370 fraud cases. This boost in Facebook-related crime is not just an Australian phenomenon; in June, the UK’s Daily Telegraph found that crimes linked with the site occurred every 40 minutes. Facebook users frequently expose too much of their lives to not only their friends but those who would do them harm.
“The more you put out there, the more you put a target on your own back,” said Queensland Detective Superintendent Brian Hay. “This idea of being private on the internet is a redundant notion. We’ve got to accept that it is very real, tangible and could come back to bite you.”
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