Study: Social Media Widely Used, Often Unregulated, in Policing


Police departments across the country have rapidly adopted social media tools during the last few years, but more than half have do not have formal policies for social media use, according to a new study by the company LexisNexis.

The online study surveyed 496 federal, state and local law enforcement officials about how their departments apply social media tools.

LexisNexis, which sells social media tools, was not identified as the survey's sponsor.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (63 percent) said their departments use social media in crime investigations, and more than half (51 percent), for crime prevention.

But even though most agencies use social media regularly, the majority have not devoted full-time positions or made formal rules for its use.

“Despite widespread use of social media for investigations, over half (52 percent) of the agencies surveyed do not have a formal process in place regarding the use of social media for investigations,” researchers write.

Just one-third (33 percent) of those surveyed said their agencies have someone dedicated to social media monitoring and only 9 percent received training from their agencies on how to use social media in investigations.

Read the full study HERE.

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