Crimes involving Facebook up by 346pc in less than a year, claim UK cops

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London, April 2 (ANI): Crimes involving Facebook have surged by nearly 346 percent in less than a year, according to Nottinghamshire Police.he force said they recorded 13 such reports between April 2008 and March 2009.

But this number rose to 58 between April 2009 and February 2010.

This saw six people being charged with offences, compared with three the previous year.

Harassment was the most commonly reported crime involving the social-networking site in the past year, accounting for 36 of the 58 alleged incidents, Detective Sergeant Harry Parsonage noted.

"For crime that involves communication, Facebook is just a method of communication," the Telegraph quoted DS Parsonage, who manages the force's e-crime unit, as saying.

Parsonage added: "Essentially Facebook is no different from any other part of the internet."

He said awareness levels of Facebook users are increasing and they are adjusting their privacy settings to prevent strangers from accessing their profiles.

All the same, in the past year it has been cited as a factor in a case of actual bodily harm, four harassment cases and one other crime in Notts, all of which were prosecuted.

"We don't know what part Facebook played in each offence," DS Parsonage said.

He added: "All we know is at some point within each crime there is some mention of Facebook."

A spokeswoman for Facebook said: "With active monthly users rising from 100 million globally in August 2008 to more than 400 million globally in February 2010, Facebook's name is featuring more frequently in the conversations we are all having every day and being used as a tool for raising awareness of issues such as knife crime through to political activism in Iran.

"As such, it is no surprise that Facebook is also mentioned in criminal reporting, especially since everyone knows that the police use Facebook as a tool in many of its investigations.

"The correlation between the growth of the service and its mention in crimes is probably the same for any number of digital platforms that have entered our everyday lives in recent years, from the mobile phone to email."

She added: "We are committed to maintaining the highest levels of protection for our users.

"We regularly work with national law enforcement organisations and the world's leading experts in online protection to ensure we provide the best possible security for anyone that uses the site nd we have robust reporting systems in place for individuals to flag any criminal activity that violates our terms of use." (ANI)

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