How Tweets Are Playing a Role in NYC Criminal Investigation


Prolific tweeter Malcolm Harris was arrested during Occupy Wall Street’s march at the Brooklyn Bridge last October. Reports about what happened that day conflict: Some say organizers deliberately led protesters onto the roadway to block traffic, while others say police officers led marchers to believe they could walk the vehicular route, says the Christian Science Monitor.

The Manhattan District Attorney argues that Harris's Twitter messages from that day – now deleted from an account he no longer operates – will reveal the truth, so he has issued a subpoena to force the social media giant to show prosecutors what Mr. Harris had written. On Monday, New York judge ruled that Twitter must comply with the D.A.'s subpoena. The decision is part of a broader trend of judicial decisions allowing prosecutors greater access to people’s communications on social media websites, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. “This case is indicative of a proactive attitude by the prosecutor in obtaining and using public social media statements by defendants,” says James Keneally, a New York city lawyer.

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