Facebook-related crimes in Britain hit 100,000-mark

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

LONDON - Crimes committed in Britain that were later linked to social networking website Facebook have reached over 100,000 in the last five years, a media report said Tuesday.

Police chiefs from 16 forces across the country said there were 7,545 calls from the public since January this year that were concerned with the social networking site.

People have alerted police to alleged acts of terrorism, sudden deaths, missing pets and even firearms offences, the Daily Mail reported.

Frauds, sexual offences and hate crimes were also reported to police, as well as a large number of malicious messages on the website.

The figures were obtained by the Daily Mail via the Freedom of Information Act requests.

The data said there were just 1,411 calls to police related to Facebook in 2005.

The website has since been used by criminals to make threats, intimidate, bully and harass.

Facebook was launched in February 2004, and had more than 500 million active users till July this year.

“These figures are quite alarming, but they reflect the growing use of Facebook by the general population. It must be remembered that any site operating user accounts has the potential for users to create false accounts,” a spokesman for children’s charity Kidscape said.

A Facebook spokesperson, however, said: “While there is a correlation between Facebook’s growing size and the number of calls, there is no evidence to suggest that the use of Facebook was the cause or carrier of a criminal act in any of the phone calls referenced.”

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