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Patrolling the social web: UK police clamps down on virtual hooliganism

28 June 2012 | 04:29 am

Trolling and racial slurs on social media are becoming everyday occurrences. Many people seem to believe that behaviour deemed unacceptable in any other situation is perfectly fine when it takes place on social media.  Unfortunately, catching the culprits who hide behind the anonymity of online profiles is very difficult, as the recent case of Nicola Brookes has shown.

But as police forces are becoming adept at using social media, the situation is taking a turn for the better. The reaction of West Midlands Police to the racist tweets that followed the England – Italy match is a great example of the improvement. In the aftermath of the game, some fans took to Twitter to vent their frustration and issued racial insults at players Ashley Young and Ashley Cole. West Midlands Police promptly intervened through their own Twitter accounts, and it seems that the offenders will be facing criminal charges for their insults. You can see the entire stream of tweets here.

With the Olympics around the corner, we can expect to see a lot more inappropriate conduct of this type on social media. The reaction by West Midland Police is a sign that this summer the Internet will not be as lawless as online trolls might expect.  Police forces can take the initiative further and start virtually patrolling social media venues during sports events.  By using monitoring tools to track mentions of players who could be subject to abuse, police nip these attempts in the bud, discouraging other ‘internet hooligans’ in the process.

At CrowdControlHQ we developed and integrated in our social media risk management and monitoring platform tools that help organisations keep track of topics across the online web. We are currently working with the West Midlands Police, Nottingham Constabulary, Norfolk Constabulary and Suffolk Constabulary together with commercial organisations such as Cadbury and Lucozade Powerleague. If you want to talk more about keeping your social media clean and safe, just get in touch.

 

 

James Leavesley,

CEO @CrowdControlHQ