Over 70,000 Reported Crimes Linked To Social Media

The Government is planning to introduce a stricter code of conduct which targets social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to deter cyber criminality.

A report which was published in the Daily Telegraph is believed to have outlined the responsibilities social media firms need to take. It is thought they will be required by law to protect children from viewing any content deemed to be “detrimental to their physical or mental health or wellbeing”.

In 2017 a social media code of conduct was implemented; this was then updated in April 2019. However, as the UK step up the proactive measures to police social media, it is thought that if companies don’t act in line with this stricter code, fines and penalties could be issued costing billions of pounds.

News of this stricter code comes as no surprise, as police forces up and down the country have seen a surge in social media-based crimes. Most of which have occurred on Facebook.

In the UK alone, there is said to be approximately 35,130,000 Facebook users.

Data obtained under a Freedom of Information (FoI)request, from 20 different police forces, showed that the number of reported crimes related to Facebook were 32,541 in the financial year 2019-20. A 19% increase on the same period a year ago.

Parliament Street, the think tank behind the FoI discovered the top 3 forces who had the highest number of reported incidents.

In third place, Greater Manchester Police reported 8,230 Facebook-related crimes, many of which involved “engaging in sexual activity with a child”.

In second place, Lancashire Constabulary recorded 8,829 incidents. They broke this information down into the types of crime which included:

  • 718 harassment
  • 179 sexual offences
  • 1,007 offensive messages
  • 1,497 malicious communication

In first place, Leicestershire Constabulary revealed they had received 10,405 incidents, of which 408 involved victims who were classified as “vulnerable”.

The FoI also revealed that the popular photo site Instagram, was also responsible for enabling criminals to commit crime. Notes included in the FoI stated:

“…Instagram had been used by paedophiles, stalkers, burglars and drug dealers to commit 15,143 crimes since 2017.”

Since 2017, the number of crimes that have been recorded on Instagram and Facebook stands at 70,786.