Facebook Crime In Britain Rises 19%

Data obtained from 20 different UK police forces under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request indicates that in the financial year 2018–19, the number of Facebook-related crimes reported to the police was 32,451. When compared to the same period in 2017–18, this total shows an increase in crime of 19%.

There has been a total of 55,643 UK crimes linked to Facebook, according to the official police figures. The news comes following the revelation that social media firms will be legally required to protect children from harmful content under the first-ever code to police the Internet, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The FOI data was obtained under by the Parliament Street think tank showed in financial year 2018-19 there were 32,451 crimes recorded by 20 police forces which provided data, an increase of 19% compared to the year before 

  • Leicestershire Police reported the highest number of incidents with 10,405 Facebook-linked crimes. 
  • Lancashire Constabulary reported the second-highest number of crimes linked to the social media giant.
  • The North West England force said it had recorded 8,829 Facebook-connected crimes, of which 718 were harassment, 179 were sexual offences, 1,007 involved offensive messages, and 1,497 were classified as malicious communication. 
  • Greater Manchester Police reported 8,230 Facebook-linked crimes, many of which involved "engaging in sexual activity with a child."

Offenses that mentioned Instagram or Facebook in the crime notes found that Instagram had been used by paedophiles, stalkers, burglars and drug dealers to commit 15,143 crimes since 2017. The total number of cases associated with both sites since 2017 is 70,786.

Standards that would force tech giants to make children’s privacy online a primary consideration have been published by the UK’s data regulator. The final Age Appropriate Design Code has been published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which it hopes will come into effect by the autumn of 2021 pending approval from parliament. Everything from apps to connected toys, social media platforms to online games, and even educational websites and streaming services, will be expected to make data protection of young people a priority from the design up.

The Government-backed code will be enforced by fines is designed to prevent a repeat of the case of Molly Russell, the 14-year-old who killed herself after viewing self-harm images on Instagram and other sites. 

From warning people to avoid the scene of a serious incident and providing clear advice, to releasing images of wanted individuals and receiving up-to-the-second sightings from the public in response; social media has come to make a valuable contribution to policing the UK. 

The current code of conduct was created in 2017 and updated in April 2019. Failure to act in line with the government-backed code could result in fines and penalties that could potentially lose an offending company billions of pounds in revenue.  

Commentator:             Surrey Comet:          PR Week:         Telegraph:       Infosecurity Magazine:

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