Crimes involving Facebook in Greater Manchester rocket by 270 per cent
Crimes involving Facebook in Greater Manchester have rocketed by 270pc in just three years.
Figures show that more than 3,500 crimes and a staggering 20,239 incidents have been reported to police since 2013.
The majority of crimes involve those aged between 11-30, with 593 recorded for 11-15-year-olds alone and 30 cases where the victim was a child under 10.
According to the data, obtained by the M.E.N following a Freedom of Information request to Greater Manchester Police , Facebook was mentioned in the log of more than 700 harassment crimes and 400 breaches of court orders or injunctions.
A spokeswoman for Facebook said nothing was more important to them than the safety of the people who use the site and they have a zero tolerance policy to tackle child exploitation and work with law enforcement agencies to help bring anyone responsible for it to justice.
The majority of crimes involve those aged between 11-30
There were over 100 blackmail cases involving the social media site, around 120 threats to kill and almost 400 incidents where letters or messages were sent ‘with intent to cause distress or anxiety.’
The figures also revealed the sickening number of crimes in which children were caused or incited to engage in sexual activity by an adult.
Facebook was reportedly involved in at least 100 incidents of child grooming, as well as a handful of cases involving adults abusing a position of trust to cause or incite a child aged 13-17 into sexual activity.
There were five crimes ‘arranging or facilitating the commission’ of a child sex offence and another 20 where a child had been made to watch a sex act by someone over 18.
GMP investigated more than 100 cases of people taking or making indecent images of children where Facebook was mentioned, and nine crimes of causing a child – four under 13 – into prostitution or pornography.
Shockingly two crimes involving children were allegedly committed by other children.
In January 2015 in Bolton, a boy was identified as having caused another boy under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, and in the same month in north Manchester a child suspect was identified in a case involving taking or making indecent photographs of children.
Neither case was taken further as the suspects were below the age of criminal responsibility.
GMP investigated more than 100 cases of people taking or making indecent images of children where Facebook was mentioned
Other crimes reported to GMP which mention Facebook were 70 cases of ‘disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress’, intimidating a juror, witness or person assisting in the investigation of an offence, receiving stolen goods and putting people in fear of violence.
The number of crimes involving the social media site rose from 512 in 2013 to 1,893 in 2015.
Det Sup Mark Smith says any rise in crime is concerning, and that the force is constantly working to improve its understanding of online crime as it continues to develop.
He added: “We are investing time in training our officers, improving the way that we respond to online criminality and the way that we work with other agencies.
“These figures show an increase in reporting and greater confidence in the way that we tackle these types of crimes. It’s also important to remember the rise in internet use over the past few years.
“We have worked hard to encourage victims to report online crime and routinely offer security advice on how to stay safe.
“If you feel that you have been the victim of a crime on social media you should contact the police immediately on 101.”
The number of crimes involving the social media site rose from 512 in 2013 to 1,893 in 2015
GMP say that in some cases, the involvement of Facebook may have been for example “victim on Facebook” during time of theft, and not directly related to the crime.
A Facebook spokeswoman said: “Facebook is highly self-regulating, and people can and do report content that they find questionable or offensive. We have clear rules to make sure the content and opinions our users create or share doesn’t go completely unchecked. We take our rules very seriously, and act quickly when they are broken.”
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people that use our site. We have zero tolerance for child exploitation on Facebook and have removed a number of the reported accounts and pieces of content for breaking our Community Standards.
“Facebook works with organisations such as CEOP in the UK to help bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. Using Photo DNA technology, we ensure that illicit material identified by global child safety experts is removed and reported to local police and law enforcement agencies.”