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Myths About Social Media Monitoring for Police Agencies

Social media has only recently been added to the arsenal of law enforcement technology available to agencies, but in the short time it has been around, there have already been a fair amount of criticisms and myths regarding its usefulness. Even though departments nationwide are adopting the tools and practices that lead to an in-depth understanding of social media platforms, there is still much work to be done before the overall usefulness of this new type of policing is fully revealed. This is part of the ideology behind NC4 Signal™ system: to help law enforcement organizations in their goal of a more fully realized social media concept.

Law Enforcement Technology | Social Media Monitoring & Police Agencies

It is important to address some of the myths that are common in regards to social media monitoring and police agencies. Below are four widespread mindsets that seem to come up on a regular basis.

  • Social media can't replace current methods: Some pushback within the law enforcement community itself stems from the concept that social media policing can effectively replace current methods that work. But the idea is not to replace police work that has been useful for centuries, but to supplement it. Social media monitoring is another useful tool in any department's kit; it will never be the only one and does not strive to be.
  • The information is untrustworthy: While it is true that there is a plethora of information online that is untrue and, perhaps, misleading, this should not be a reason to disregard the entire ideology. Much like any other type of police work, information gained through social media is just one of a variety of sources. To discount everything said and posted online is to miss out on a huge resource of real-time information.
  • The technology isn't widespread enough: This is drastically and fundamentally changing with each passing day. The myth and critique seem outdated itself. A Pew survey taken last year showed that the percentage of American adults with a smartphone has skyrocketed to 68%. That's up 35% from when the survey was last done only four years ago. There's little doubt those numbers will continue to grow, making social media policing more and more essential.
  • Unverified social media information has no use: Although this can be a challenge, no information should be considered without use to a smart and adaptive police department in the 21st century. The more data, the better. And, sometimes, important information can come from odd or rarely used sources. This is particularly true of the online world. 

As online law enforcement technology continues to grow, these types of myths and critiques will diminish. What will not is the importance of having high-quality tools at your disposal, such as NC4 Signal™. Call today for more information at 877-624-4999.

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