ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no longer a surprise when the police use Ã¢â‚¬Å“new technologiesÃ¢â‚¬Â to garner information in criminal investigations. But what if Facebook is one of these tools?
Last week, five women beat up another student off-campus at our university. After a short, verbal confrontation, the group of women collectively broke the girlÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s arm, kicked, dragged and punched her until the fight was dispersed by other party-goers. Throughout the course of the investigation, it was brought to the police investigatorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ attention that the group was bragging about the incident on Facebook. Investigators used Ã¢â‚¬Å“the BookÃ¢â‚¬Â as a tool for identifying suspects, and each womanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s individual Facebook page will likely serve as evidence during the prosecution of this case.
It shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be a surprise that a place like Facebook would offer ample evidence in a case, even of this magnitude (battery charges can mean 2-8 years in prison). It is horrible that these girls bragged about harming another person on Facebook, but after seeing what people put on their profiles these days, it certainly doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t shock me as it might have once. And kudos to the police for using Facebook as a tool for finding/identifying other suspects Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it shows the legal system is keeping up with the technological times. Facebook will likely offer more accurate and timely information than any other traditional source.