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Crime and violence within social networks like Facebook

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter can be misused for crime, violence and terrorism

In the beginning, social networks were just a new way of socializing among friends and business people. In the last few years, some people have begun using these networks for other purposes than family and friends.  Using facebook some people started a political movement that ended in the Egyptian revolution against Mubarak.

Others organize urban riots like some British youngsters recently did in London and Birmingham.

Others organize groups in Facebook to sell  illegal narcotics, as recently happened in Brazilian slums.

Facebook and social networking now often play a role in teen violence, school harassment, gang activity and organized crime.

That is why police are concerned about violence generated through online social networks, which then moves to the streets and result in dead and wounded people.

Some say there is a need to have a strategy for the treatment of such antisocial behavior.  That there is a need to form cyber patrols, composed of undercover policemen with support of sociologists and psychologists.

For example it is now quite usual that young people socializing in the web have been provoked and challenged to street confrontations, violence and crime.

A few days ago, in Uruguay a Facebook challenge also ended with a 19 year old killed in the vicinity of the Montevideo Shopping Mall.  These challenges to violence are also common in association with sports and football games.

On Wednesday, in Montevideo, the 11th World Meeting of Cyber ​​Cops opened with the participation of police specialists from 20 countries.

During the Police Conference , the cyber cops will exchange their experiences and views on the subject. Some proposals include the following: to research more about the “dark web”,  to cyber patrolling the net when there is evidence of criminal activity, to research the misuse of social networking like Facebook, to form a virtual patrol (with cyber cops, sociologists and psychologists) who do prevention work on these violent groups as done in sports.

But violence cannot be resolved by limiting the Internet or social networking technology. In that sense, during the inauguration of the conference, the Interior  Minister of Uruguay Mr. Eduardo Bonomi said that “the problem has clear social roots and cannot be only solved by police action. Police must intervene when something serious happens,  but this does not help to eliminate crime. We must fight the causes that lead to such violent or criminal activity. The solution must also come from a better education,  the role of the family, the role of the school and not by always looking after the police, “said  Bonomi.