Facebook Called an ‘Accelerant’ to Violent Crime

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Facebook and other platforms have emerged as new frontiers in the fight against violent crime that continues to grip major cities, the Wall Street Journal reports. In Chicago, which is on track to have more than 600 murders for the second year in a row, community leaders and police say the immediacy of these platforms has played a major role in escalating disputes, while also providing more evidence that can aid arrests and convictions. “It pours an accelerant on what was already there,” said Eric Sussman, the first assistant state’s attorney for Chicago’s Cook County.

See Also: When Being ‘Facebook-Famous’ Leads to Violence

The Chicago Police Department and prosecutors say they are seeing a rise in the number of “petty conflicts that have leapt from social media platforms to violent crimes on the street.” A Wall Street Journal tally found at least 100 cases nationally where an act of violence was streamed on just one of these platforms, Facebook Live, since it was launched in early 2016. “Unfortunately, in too many instances, these conflicts are resolved with a gun,” said a Chicago police spokesman. Prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in other cities, including Dallas and Wilmington, De., say social media mirrors and contributes to gang-related behavior on their streets. Police in Dallas this year attributed a string of drive-by shootings to incidents in which one gang challenged another and posted their location on Facebook or Instagram, prompting an act of violence.

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