Social Media/Internet Use Leads to Criminal Activity

As reported by Eric Tucker and Thomas Watkins in the August 10, 2011 edition of the Providence Journal, the "dark side" of social media has become more apparent in recent months. Police officers and cities both in the United States and around the world are contending with a new form of mob violence. People, mostly teenagers and young adults, are using social media outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to organize criminal activities.

Large groups gather at appointed times to riot, vandalize businesses, start fires and behave in a disruptive manner. The recent riots in London have been organized through the use of social media. The ability to contact large amounts of people in "real-time" make these mobs a real threat because they organize rapidly and overwhelm local police forces.

In addition to using social media to organize criminal activities, people are also using social media to discuss their future plans and to brag about past criminal exploits. Police departments are trying to coordinate operations with social networking companies in an attempt to prevent these large-scale criminal gatherings from occurring.

Although Rhode Island has not experienced large scale criminal mobs, social media is used in the Rhode Island legal system. In 2007, the Attorney General's Office used a criminal defendant's Facebook profile to successfully increase his sentence in a drunk driving – serious injury resulting case. During court proceedings, the defendant expressed remorse regarding the crime, but his Facebook profile showed him drinking and wearing a prison jumpsuit at a party.

If you or a family member has been charged with an Internet crime such as cyber-bullying or sexting, which can lead to child pornography charges, or please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Contact Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at

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