That the NYPD has a crack Social Media Squad stalking citizens' every move is old news, but a recent Freedom of Information request sheds new light on exactly how the cops use their Facebooking powers. The answer? They're on the lookout for terrorists, cop killers, and um, loud parties.
Back in December, MuckRock requested the NYPD's policy on using social media as an investigative tool — quite a hot-button topic, given the rise of GamerGate (and emoji cop-killers). As it happens, the cops have fairly thorough policies in place, allowing officers to scan social media for intel, as well as adopting online personas to go phishing for everything from death threats to intel on loud parties. According to the policy, both the photo and username of any online persona has to be signed off by two levels of management, presumably in an effort to avoid shit like this.
Of course, with the police so clearly well-equipped to handle online threats and harassment, it does make you wonder if something could be done to handle persistent death threats against certain individuals. But then again, those emoji won't arrest themselves. [MuckRock]