Crimes linked to Twitter have risen almost four-fold over the past three years, reveals new figures from 25 police forces across the United Kingdom.
Since 2011, cases where Twitter has in someway played a role have increased by 390 percent – up from 174 in 2011 to 852 in 2013.
Comparatively, crimes involving Facebook have increased by just one quarter over the same period. However, it’s somewhat of an apples and oranges and comparison as Facebook-linked crime dwarfs Twitter and all other social media, with 12,803 accounts of criminal activity involving Facebook reported last year.
Offenses included illegal raves, shoplifting, wildlife crimes, terrorism, robbery, blackmail and sexual assault. While 626 Facebook cases and 26 Twitter cases resulted in convictions, social media’s specific role in these crimes was not detailed.
“Police forces have been prone to heavy-handed reactions simply because something has been posted on Twitter or Facebook when, if it happened in the street, it would be ignored,” said Nick Pickles, from Big Brother Watch. “This risks seriously chilling freedom of speech.”