Criminal Justice Essays on Using Social Media to Track Someone

There is a drastic change in the law enforcement world with the advancements in technology. The growth of innovations through technology has been accompanied by skyrocketing crimes giving technology both an advantage and a drawback. With the need to enforce the law by ensuring that suspects are located irrespective of their locations, technology has simplified the task. Gone are the days when law enforcement agents used to locate someone physically. At the moment, the authorities can track somebody at their comfort zones. Social media networks are a result of technological changes. There are billions of people with social media accounts such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter among others. As almost everybody is using social media, it is easy to track someone, and that is why I would prefer to use social media networks to track anybody if given that task.

Daily, a significant number of individuals are involved with social media. Some of the trending activities on social media include posting of pictures to be in touch with old friends, tagging friends and family members and sharing videos. Hence, information posted by people has the potential to be used by law enforcement agencies (Brunty et al. 97). Most people have been ingrained with social media such that it is natural for them never to keep quiet. Taking an example of a robbery suspect who has a Facebook account, he shares a picture which suggests he had just “checked-in” at a strip club. Using the posted pictures, a law enforcement officer can search for all the matching descriptions of what was seen in the photo and figure out the possible locations. Thereafter, go to the place, wait for him to come out, ask for his ID and arrest him. The authorities have the challenge to be always aware of updates to make informed decisions. Apart from Facebook, other accounts such as Twitter and Instagram are equally important when tracking someone and this can be simplified by regularly checking their feeds, updates, and posts. For instance, tweets and hashtags can have salient information which can help the police in figuring out the location of someone. Location tagging by suspects makes the work easier.

Other methods that can be used by the law enforcement authorities to locate someone in social media would be to send that person a friend request. A person’s activities can then be monitored from time to time until a probable location is established by use of the pictures and videos posted online. Additionally, mutual friends also play a vital role as they can help officers in locating someone of interest. The undercover officer can check for the close friends of the suspect and merely ask the friends about his/her ware bouts; in most scenarios, the close friends are likely to be hanging out with the suspect, and thus they can give the unsuspecting officer information regarding the location of the suspect (Hoffmeister 218). Facebook Messenger has made things more comfortable and the authorities can utilize the popular Marauder’s Map which is capable of scrapping the location data on the Facebook Messenger page and after that, plots the data on a map. In case the person of interests forgets to turn off location capabilities, then his or her location can be pinpointed. The Facebook Messenger feature is one of the tools many law enforcement officers are using.

Technology should be embraced as it plays a crucial role in pinpointing suspects. The social media being the most popular platform can be the best avenue for tracking down suspects or any individuals of interest. Locating people is essential as it is a method of preventing crime or any malicious acts or intentions. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp are the commonly used platforms, and law enforcement authorities can use them in locating someone.



Works Cited

Brunty, Joshua, Katherine Helenek, and Larry Miller. Social Media Investigation for Law                          Enforcement. Amsterdam: Anderson Pub, 2013. Print.

Hoffmeister, Thaddeus. Social Media in the Courtroom: A New Era for Criminal Justice?, 2014.              Print.