Social Policing

OK, so we all know social media is here to stay; Facebook isn’t going anywhere and if you aren’t using it to reach out to your customers you may soon go the way of the phonebook. However, as the new form of media and networking outreach continues to evolve, people are finding more and more uses for the technology.

In England, bar patron Jennifer Wilson was attacked in an unprovoked nightclub outburst that had another patron, Ashleigh Holliman, slam a pint glass into Wilson’s face, leaving her bleeding on the floor while Holliman fled the venue. Wilson, a tanning salon receptionist, was told the club’s surveillance equipment did not clearly show the incident and that the evidence had been cleared from the dance floor by the club’s staff.

Even while dazed, Wilson vaguely recognized one of Holliman’s friends at the club from Facebook and, upon her recovery, began searching for her attacker. She searched through hundreds of the man’s Facebook friends until she found a photograph of her attacker. She then was able to identify a mutual connection between herself and Holliman and was able to obtain her address, which she provided to the police.

Amazingly, when the police arrived at Holliman’s address and found her not home, they asked Wilson to go back onto the social media site and try to find out where she worked. Wilson was able to determine that she was a hairdresser and again provided that information to the police who arrested Holliman the next day at her place of work. She was eventually fined $5,000 and sentenced to 240 hours of community service. Without Facebook, Wilson never would have found her attacker and who knows what might have followed for each of the young women from there. Where will technology and social media take us next?

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